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J Anat. 2006 Oct;209(4):469-80.

Cartilage, SOX9 and Notch signals in chondrogenesis.

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UK Centre for Tissue Engineering, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.


Cartilage repair is an ongoing medical challenge. Tissue engineered solutions to this problem rely on the availability of appropriately differentiated cells in sufficient numbers. This review discusses the potential of primary human articular chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells to fulfil this role. Chondrocytes have been transduced with a retrovirus containing the transcription factor SOX9, which permits a greatly improved response of the cells to three-dimensional culture systems, growth factor stimulation and hypoxic culture conditions. Human mesenchymal stem cells have been differentiated into chondrocytes using well-established methods, and the Notch signalling pathway has been studied in detail to establish its role during this process. Both approaches offer insights into these in vitro systems that are invaluable to understanding and designing future cartilage regeneration strategies.

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