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Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2015 Feb;21(1):20-33. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2013.0760. Epub 2014 Oct 24.

The application of multiple biophysical cues to engineer functional neocartilage for treatment of osteoarthritis. Part II: signal transduction.

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1 Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London , London, United Kingdom .


The unique mechanoelectrochemical environment of cartilage has motivated researchers to investigate the effect of multiple biophysical cues, including mechanical, magnetic, and electrical stimulation, on chondrocyte biology. It is well established that biophysical stimuli promote chondrocyte proliferation, differentiation, and maturation within "biological windows" of defined dose parameters, including mode, frequency, magnitude, and duration of stimuli (see companion review Part I: Cellular Response). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms and signal transduction pathways activated in response to multiple biophysical stimuli remain to be elucidated. Understanding the mechanisms of biophysical signal transduction will deepen knowledge of tissue organogenesis, remodeling, and regeneration and aiding in the treatment of pathologies such as osteoarthritis. Further, this knowledge will provide the tissue engineer with a potent toolset to manipulate and control cell fate and subsequently develop functional replacement cartilage. The aim of this article is to review chondrocyte signal transduction pathways in response to mechanical, magnetic, and electrical cues. Signal transduction does not occur along a single pathway; rather a number of parallel pathways appear to be activated, with calcium signaling apparently common to all three types of stimuli, though there are different modes of activation. Current tissue engineering strategies, such as the development of "smart" functionalized biomaterials that enable the delivery of growth factors or integration of conjugated nanoparticles, may further benefit from targeting known signal transduction pathways in combination with external biophysical cues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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