Given articular cartilage has a limited repair potential, untreated osteochondral lesions of the ankle can lead to debilitating symptoms and joint deterioration necessitating joint replacement. While a wide range of reparative and restorative surgical techniques have been developed to treat osteochondral lesions of the ankle, there is no consensus in the literature regarding which is the ideal treatment. Tissue engineering strategies, encompassing stem cells, somatic cells, biomaterials, and stimulatory signals (biological and mechanical), have a potentially valuable role in the treatment of osteochondral lesions. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are an attractive resource for regenerative medicine approaches, given their ability to self‐renew and differentiate into multiple stromal cell types, including chondrocytes. Although MSCs have demonstrated significant promise in in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies, their success in treating osteochondral lesions of the ankle is inconsistent, necessitating further clinical trials to validate their application. This review highlights the role of MSCs in cartilage regeneration and how the application of biomaterials and stimulatory signals can enhance chondrogenesis. The current treatments for osteochondral lesions of the ankle using regenerative medicine strategies are reviewed to provide a clinical context. The challenges for cartilage regeneration, along with potential solutions and safety concerns are also discussed.
Bone is a highly specialized connective tissue and has a rare quality as one of the few tissues that can repair without a scar to regain pre-injury structure and function. Despite the excellent healing capacity of bone, tumor, infection, trauma and surgery can lead to significant bone loss requiring skeletal augmentation. Bone loss in the lower limb poses a complex clinical problem, requiring reconstructive techniques to restore form and function. In the past, amputation may have been the only option; however, there is now an array of reconstructive possibilities and cellular therapies available to salvage a limb. In this review, we will evaluate current applications of bone tissue engineering techniques in limb reconstruction and identify potential strategies for future work.
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