Injectable hydrogels: a new paradigm for osteochondral tissue engineering
Osteochondral tissue engineering has become a promising strategy for repairing focal chondral lesions and early osteoarthritis (OA), which account for progressive joint pain and disability in millions of people worldwide. Towards improving osteochondral tissue repair, injectable hydrogels have emerged as promising matrices due to their wider range of properties such as their high water content and porous framework, similarity to the natural extracellular matrix (ECM), ability to encapsulate cells within the matrix and ability to provide biological cues for cellular differentiation. Further, their properties such as those that facilitate minimally invasive deployment or delivery, and their ability to repair geometrically complex irregular defects have been critical for their success. In this review, we provide an overview of innovative approaches to engineer injectable hydrogels towards improved osteochondral tissue repair. Herein, we focus on understanding the biology of osteochondral tissue and osteoarthritis along with the need for injectable hydrogels in osteochondral tissue engineering. Furthermore, we discuss in detail different biomaterials (natural and synthetic) and various advanced fabrication methods being employed for the development of injectable hydrogels in osteochondral repair. In addition, in vitro and in vivo applications of developed injectable hydrogels for osteochondral tissue engineering are also reviewed. Finally, conclusions and future perspectives of using injectable hydrogels in osteochondral tissue engineering are provided.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles