, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 544-559
Date: 29 Dec 2010

Potential of Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Cartilage Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

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Abstract

The current surgical intervention of using autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) for cartilage repair is associated with several problems such as donor site morbidity, de-differentiation upon expansion and fibrocartilage repair following transplantation. This has led to exploration of the use of stem cells as a model for chondrogenic differentiation as well as a potential source of chondrogenic cells for cartilage tissue engineering and repair. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are advantageous, due to their unlimited self-renewal and pluripotency, thus representing an immortal cell source that could potentially provide an unlimited supply of chondrogenic cells for both cell and tissue-based therapies and replacements. This review aims to present an overview of emerging trends of using ESCs in cartilage tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In particular, we will be focusing on ESCs as a promising cell source for cartilage regeneration, the various strategies and approaches employed in chondrogenic differentiation and tissue engineering, the associated outcomes from animal studies, and the challenges that need to be overcome before clinical application is possible.