Articular Cartilage

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ISBN 9781439853245
Cat# K12457



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  • Includes overviews of the biomechanical function and properties of cartilage as well as the structure–function relationships of the primary constituents of the tissue and cells
  • Examines the development of cartilage from cells to tissue with a detailed overview of the signaling molecules and pathways involved
  • Discusses the changes that occur in the extracellular matrix and chondrocytes with maturation and aging, under normal or pathologic conditions
  • Highlights advances in the classical "three pillars" of tissue engineering: cell source, scaffold design, and external stimulation through the use of bioactive molecules and mechanical bioreactors
  • Examines different animal models and scoring systems often used for modeling and assessment of disease or repair processes, with a critical review of their relative advantages and disadvantages
  • Provides an important snapshot of the ever-changing landscape of regulatory and commercial affairs for medical products for cartilage repair
  • Details several culture methods, such as the use of 3D culture systems, that are commonly used for chondrocyte culture or cartilage tissue engineering
  • Provides common protocols for the assessment of cartilage quality


Well-known for their inability to heal, articular cartilage injuries often degenerate inexorably to disastrous impairment. Multitudes of treatments have been devised for this problem, but no satisfactory long-term solutions have been established. Written by world-class experts, Articular Cartilage covers the latest research and advancements related to biology, development, pathology, clinical applications, and tissue engineering. This book is useful for rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons, cartilage biologists, and cartilage engineers as well as for professionals working in the orthopaedic and other musculoskeletal industries. This book also belongs in the library of primary care physicians, gerontologists, physical therapists, kinesiologists, and chiropractors. Written at a level that allows accessibility to a wide audience, it provides an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses the breadth and depth of basic science, bioengineering, translational science, and detailed methodologic approaches.

The authors examine the major events and signaling molecules that lead to development of articular cartilage from precursor cells, and the changes in cartilage as it matures and ages. They focus on the epidemiology, etiopathogenesis, and therapeutic approaches for cartilage injury and the major arthritides that affect cartilage and the synovial joints such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. They supply an up-to-date overview of the field of tissue engineering as applied to articular cartilage repair. They examine a number of methods used to assess structure, composition, biology, and biomechanical function. Each chapter contains extensive references to enhance additional study.

The book’s comprehensive focus on multiple aspects of articular cartilage sets it apart from other tissue engineering or developmental biology-based books available. It includes important discussions and perspectives on many of the remaining challenges and opportunities in the development and translation of new approaches for treating diseases of articular cartilage. It also provides detailed working protocols for many of the methods used to study articular cartilage, coverage of current treatment options, and business and regulatory aspects of the development of cartilage products. It provides a deeper understanding that will help with the development of new products and clinical applications.

Table of Contents

Structure and Function of Cartilage
Chondrocytes and Their Cellular Characteristics
Cartilage Matrix Characteristics and Organization
Articular Cartilage Biomechanical Properties
Chapter Concepts

Articular Cartilage Development
Cellular Behavior during Embryogenesis
Articular Cartilage Growth and Maturation
Signaling Pathways during Development and Maintenance of Articular Cartilage
Signaling Factors
Chapter Concepts

Articular Cartilage Pathology and Therapies
Cartilage Injuries
Current and Emerging Therapies for Articular Cartilage Repair and Arthritis
Motivation for Tissue Engineering
Chapter Concepts

Tissue Engineering of Articular Cartilage
The Need for In Vitro Tissue Engineering
Cell Source
Biomaterials and Scaffold Design
Bioactive Molecules for Cartilage Engineering
Bioreactors and Mechanical Stimulation
Convergence of Stimuli
Chapter Concepts

Methods for Evaluating Articular Cartilage Quality
Imaging Techniques
Histology, Immunohistochemistry, and Other Ultrastructural Techniques
Techniques for the Quantitative Assessment of Biochemical Components
Biomechanical Techniques
Animal Models
Clinical Scoring Systems
Chapter Concepts

Perspectives on the Translational Aspects of Articular Cartilage Biology

Challenges and Opportunities in Articular Cartilage Biology and Regeneration
Immune Response, Immunogenicity, and Transplants
Business Aspects and Regulatory Affairs
Statutes and Guidelines
Chapter Concepts

Experimental Protocols

Tissue and Cell Culture
Gross Morphology, Histology, and Immunohistochemistry
Protein Analysis
Insoluble Matrix Component Extraction and Assaying
RNA Extraction and Gene Expression
Assaying Tissue Biomechanical Properties
Animal Protocols

Author Bio(s)

Kyriacos A. Athanasiou is a Distinguished Professor and Chair Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Eric M. Darling is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology at Brown University, Rhode Island. Jerry C. Hu is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis.

Editorial Reviews

"By revealing the wealth of knowledge we have accumulated in this area, as well as exposing the tremendous opportunities for advancement, Articular Cartilage provides a critical template for those seeking to study one of the most complex tissues of the human body. Only through this level of understanding will we eventually be able to develop new methods to diagnose, prevent, or treat diseases of articular cartilage."
—From the Foreword by Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., Laszlo Ormandy Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

"… this is an important contribution to the literature on the important tissue/issue cartilage that I can strongly recommend to everyone interested in cartilage – basic scientists as well as clinical doctors. …It covers up to date knowledge on cartilage (mainly hyaline articular cartilage) regarding morphology, biomechanics, development and tissue engineering. …Most of the chapters are full of interesting facts and presented in an easy to read style."
––International Cartilage Repair Society,
Winter 2013