For many years, the avascular nature of cartilage tissue has posed a clinical challenge for replacement, repair, and reconstruction of damaged cartilage within the human body. Injuries to cartilage and osteochondral tissues can be due to osteoarthritis, sports, aggressive cancers, and repetitive stresses and inflammation on wearing tissue. Due to its limited capacity for regeneration or repair, there is a need for suitable material systems which can recapitulate the function of the native osteochondral tissue physically, mechanically, histologically, and biologically. Tissue engineering (TE) approaches take advantage of principles of biomedical engineering, clinical medicine, and cell biology to formulate, functionalize, and apply biomaterial scaffolds to aid in the regeneration and repair of tissues. Nanomaterial science has introduced new methods for improving and fortifying TE scaffolds, and lies on the forefront of cutting-edge TE strategies. These nanomaterials enable unique properties directly correlated to their sub-micron dimensionality including structural and cellular advantages. Examples include electrospun nanofibers and emulsion nanoparticles which provide nanoscale features for biomaterials, more closely replicating the 3D extracellular matrix, providing better cell adhesion, integration, interaction, and signaling. This chapter aims to provide a detailed overview of osteochondral regeneration and repair using TE strategies with a focus on nanomaterials and nanocomposites.
Keywords: Nanomaterials; Osteochondral; Regenerative medicine; Stem cells; Tissue engineering.