Leijten J.C.H. - Cell Sources for Articular Cartilage Repair Strategies: Shifting from Monocultures to Cocultures

Jeroen C.H. Leijten, Ph.D., Nicole Georgi, M.Sc., Ling Wu, B.Sc.,
Clemens A. van Blitterswijk, Ph.D. and Marcel Karperien, Ph.D.

Tissue Engineering: Part B 2012


The repair of articular cartilage is challenging due to the sparse native cell population combined with the avascular and aneural nature of the tissue. In recent years, cartilage tissue engineering has shown great promise.
As with all tissue engineering strategies, the possible therapeutic outcome is intimately linked with the used combination of cells, growth factors, and biomaterials. However, the optimal combination has remained a controversial topic and no consensus has been reached. In consequence, much effort has been dedicated, to further design, investigate, and optimize cartilage repair strategies. Specifically, various research groups have performed intensive investigations attempting to identify the single most optimal cell source for articular cartilage repair strategies. However, recent findings indicate that not the heavily investigated monocell source, but the less studied combinations of cell sources in coculture might be more attractive for cartilage repair strategies. This review will give a comprehensive overview on the cell sources that have been investigated for articular cartilage repair strategies. In particular, the advantages and disadvantages of investigated cell sources are comprehensively discussed with emphasis on the potential of cocultures in which benefits are combined, while the disadvantages of single-cell sources for cartilage repair are mitigated.