Current technologies of tissue engineering offer new strategies for the treatment of cartilage and bone defects. Beyond implantation of cell suspensions, second generation products of biomaterial enforced with in vitro preformed tissues are clinically applied. Ongoing research and development focus on differentiation factors and tissue protection. In search for sources of autologous cells which are easier to collect and which may serve for more complex tissues like osteochondral implants, mesenchymal stem cells are investigated. The design of in vitro experiments, which are required for these investigations, has produced tissue engineering technologies, which may serve for pathophysiology research in inflammatory joint diseases and for exploration of treatment strategies. These together with the advances in biological therapies of rheumatic diseases are the basis of new concepts, which promise application of tissue engineering also in inflammatory joint diseases.