Innovative Tissue-Engineered Strategies for Osteochondral Defect Repair and Regeneration: Current Progress and Challenges

Adv Healthc Mater. 2020 Oct 26;e2001008. doi: 10.1002/adhm.202001008. Online ahead of print.


Clinical treatments for the repair of osteochondral defects (OCD) are merely palliative, not completely curative, and thus enormously unfulfilled challenges. With the in-depth studies of biology, medicine, materials, and engineering technology, the conception of OCD repair and regeneration should be renewed. During the past decades, many innovative tissue-engineered approaches for repairing and regenerating damaged osteochondral units have been widely explored. Various scaffold-free and scaffold-based strategies, such as monophasic, biphasic, and currently fabricated multiphasic and gradient architectures have been proposed and evaluated. Meanwhile, progenitor cells and tissue-specific cells have also been intensively investigated in vivo as well as ex vivo. Concerning bioactive factors and drugs, they have been combined with scaffolds and/or living cells, and even released in a spatiotemporally controlled manner. Although tremendous progress has been achieved, further research and development (R&D) is needed to convert preclinical outcomes into clinical applications. Here, the osteochondral unit structure, its defect classifications, and diagnosis are summarized. Commonly used clinical reparative techniques, tissue-engineered strategies, emerging 3D-bioprinting technologies, and the status of their clinical applications are discussed. Existing challenges to translation are also discussed and potential solutions for future R&D directions are proposed.

Keywords: clinical applications; osteochondral defect repair and regeneration; scaffolds; tissue-engineered strategies.

Publication types

  • Review