Mechanobiology: Cartilage and Chondrocyte - Volume 4


Stoltz, J.-F.

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Over recent years, there has been increasing interest in the fundamental role played by local mechanical parameters in chondrocyte regulation and cartilage dysfunction as a first step in the development of osteoarthritis. This is how the idea of mechanobiology and the concept of mechanotransduction were born in the 90’s. Indeed, a broad diversity of physiological phenomena is induced by mechanical stimuli (hearing, orientation to gravity, touch, tissue remodelling...) but the mechanism by which mechanical forces may regulate a physiological response is still unknown. In other respects, the concept of regenerative medicine has recently developed in parallel to this. Regenerative medicine is an emerging multidisciplinary field involving medicine, biology, chemistry, mechanics and engineering that is likely to revolutionize the ways we improve the health and quality of life by restoring, maintaining or enhancing tissue and organ functions. Indeed, human tissues do not regenerate spontaneously and healing is only a stopgap that may be associated with contraction which in turn may prevent regeneration. Tissue engineering through the in vitro preparation of biotissues presents an interesting alternative. Today, the in vitro preparation of biological tissues such as cartilage, bone, tendon, vessel, heart muscle, skin, brings out major expectations for the next decade. However, to each type of tissue correspond a large number of potential methods related to the support, the cells used (tissular cells or stem cells) and to the conditions of the environment (culture medium and mechanical forces). The aim of this publication is to provide a thoughtful and balanced dissertation on new crucial concepts with clinical implications.