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FASEB J. 2012 Sep;26(9):3614-24. doi: 10.1096/fj.12-207241. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

Biomechanics-driven chondrogenesis: from embryo to adult.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California-Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Biomechanics plays a pivotal role in articular cartilage development, pathophysiology, and regeneration. During embryogenesis and cartilage maturation, mechanical stimuli promote chondrogenesis and limb formation. Mechanical loading, which has been characterized using computer modeling and in vivo studies, is crucial for maintaining the phenotype of cartilage. However, excessive or insufficient loading has deleterious effects and promotes the onset of cartilage degeneration. Informed by the prominent role of biomechanics, mechanical stimuli have been harnessed to enhance redifferentiation of chondrocytes and chondroinduction of other cell types, thus providing new chondrocyte cell sources. Biomechanical stimuli, such as hydrostatic pressure or compression, have been used to enhance the functional properties of neocartilage. By identifying pathways involved in mechanical stimulation, chemical equivalents that mimic mechanical signaling are beginning to offer exciting new methods for improving neocartilage. Harnessing biomechanics to improve differentiation, maintenance, and regeneration is emerging as pivotal toward producing functional neocartilage that could eventually be used to treat cartilage degeneration.

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