Regenerative medicine approaches based on decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds and tissues are rapidly expanding. The rationale for using ECM as a natural biomaterial is the presence of bioactive molecules that drive tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Moreover, appropriately prepared ECM is biodegradable and does not elicit adverse immune responses. Successful clinical application of decellularized tissues has been reported in cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and breast reconstructive surgery. At present, the use of ECM for osteochondral tissue engineering is attracting interest. Recent data underscore the great promise for future application of decellularized ECM for osteochondral repair. This review describes the rationale for using ECM-based approaches for different regenerative purposes and details the application of ECM for cartilage or osteochondral repair.
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