Bioreactors for Tissue Engineering of Cartilage

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The cartilage regenerative medicine field has evolved during the last decades. The first-generation technology, autologous chondrocyte transplantation (ACT) involved the transplantation of in vitro expanded chondrocytes to cartilage defects. The second generation involves the seeding of chondrocytes in a three-dimensional scaffold. The technique has several potential advantages such as the ability of arthroscopic implantation, in vitro pre-differentiation of cells and implant stability among others (Brittberg M, Lindahl A, Nilsson A, Ohlsson C, Isaksson O, Peterson L, N Engl J Med 331(14):889–895, 1994; Henderson I, Francisco R, Oakes B, Cameron J, Knee 12(3):209–216, 2005; Peterson L, Minas T, Brittberg M, Nilsson A, Sjogren-Jansson E, Lindahl A, Clin Orthop (374):212–234, 2000; Nagel-Heyer S, Goepfert C, Feyerabend F, Petersen JP, Adamietz P, Meenen NM, et al. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 27(4):273–280, 2005; Portner R, Nagel-Heyer S, Goepfert C, Adamietz P, Meenen NM, J Biosci Bioeng 100(3):235–245, 2005; Nagel-Heyer S, Goepfert C, Adamietz P, Meenen NM, Portner R, J Biotechnol 121(4):486–497, 2006; Heyland J, Wiegandt K, Goepfert C, Nagel-Heyer S, Ilinich E, Schumacher U, et al. Biotechnol Lett 28(20):1641–1648, 2006). The nutritional requirements of cells that are synthesizing extra-cellular matrix increase along the differentiation process. The mass transfer must be increased according to the tissue properties. Bioreactors represent an attractive tool to accelerate the biochemical and mechanical properties of the engineered tissues providing adequate mass transfer and physical stimuli. Different reactor systems have been [5] developed during the last decades based on different physical stimulation concepts. Static and dynamic compression, confined and nonconfined compression-based reactors have been described in this review. Perfusion systems represent an attractive way of culturing constructs under dynamic conditions. Several groups showed increased matrix production using confined and unconfined systems. Development of automatic culture systems and noninvasive monitoring of matrix production will take place during the next few years in order to improve the cost affectivity of tissue-engineered products.