Scaffold-free approaches for the fabrication of engineered articular cartilage tissue

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number022005
Journal / PublicationBiomedical Materials (Bristol)
Issue number2
Online published16 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


Tissue engineered cartilaginous constructs have meet great advances in the past decades as a treatment for osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease affecting people all over the world as the population ages. Scaffold-free tissue engineered constructs are designed and developed in recent years with only cells and cell-derived matrix involved. Scaffold-free tissue constructs do not require cell adherence on exogenous materials and are superior to scaffold-based constructs in (a) relying on only cells to produce matrix, (b) not interfering cell-cell signaling, cell migration or small molecules diffusion after implantation and (c) introducing no exogenous impurities. In this review, three main scaffold-free methodologies for cartilage tissue engineering, the cell sheet technology, the phase transfer cell culture-living hyaline cartilage graft system and the cell aggregate-based (bottom-up) methods, were reviewed, covering mold fabrication, decellularization and 3D bioprinting. The recent advances, medical applications, superiority and drawbacks were elaborated in detail.

Research Area(s)

  • cartilage, cell aggregate, cell sheet technology, PTCC, scaffold-free, tissue engineering