Mechanics in articular cartilage regeneration
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Articular cartilage is an avascular load-bearing tissue lining the surface of long bones where it serves for the absorbance of shocks as well as the lubrication of joints. Treatments to repair cartilage defects mainly consist of cell therapies, which do not yield biomechanically sound tissue. Therefore tissue engineering has been proposed as a viable alternative. In order to meet biomechanical demands tissue engineered constructs require specific architecture, which could be accomplished by 3D deposition of hydrogels. Unfortunately, hydrogels are not mechanically compatible with native articular cartilage. The use of reinforced hydrogels in biofabrication allows tailoring of mechanical properties with a retained biocompatibility. Mechanical loading in a bioreactor can contribute to the improvement of tissue engineered constructs by mimicking in vivo conditions. Mechanical tuning in biofabrication as well as mechanical training could contribute to a clinically applicable tissue.