Articular chondrocytes express the matrix receptors CD44 and integrins. Both of these receptors exhibit interactions with adjacent extracellular matrix macromolecules. In addition, both integrins and CD44 have the capacity for signal transduction as well as modulated interactions with the actin cytoskeleton. As such, both receptor families provide the chondrocytes a means to detect changes in matrix composition or to function as mechanotransducers. Disruption of CD44 or integrin-mediated cell-matrix interactions, either experimentally induced or when present in osteoarthritis, have profound effects on cartilage metabolism. Thus, CD44 and integrin receptors play a critical role in maintaining cartilage homeostasis.