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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 1/2018

Strain distribution of repaired articular cartilage defects by tissue engineering under compression loading

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Shilei Wang, Yan Bao, Yinjie Guan, Chunqiu Zhang, Haiying Liu, Xu Yang, Lilan Gao, Tongtong Guo, Qian Chen



It is difficult to repair cartilage damage when cartilage undergoes trauma or degeneration. Cartilage tissue engineering is an ideal treatment method to repair cartilage defects, but at present, there are still some uncertainties to be researched in cartilage tissue engineering including the mechanical properties of the repaired region.


In this study, using an agarose gel as artificial cartilage implanted into the cartilage defect and gluing the agarose gel to cartilage by using the medical bio-adhesive, the full-thickness and half-thickness defects models of articular cartilage in vitro repaired by tissue engineering were constructed. Strain behaviors of the repaired region were analyzed by the digital correlation technology under 5, 10, 15, and 20% compressive load.


The axial normal strain (Ex) perpendicular to the surface of the cartilage and lateral normal strain (Ey) as well as shear strain (Exy) appeared obviously heterogeneous in the repaired region. In the full-defect model, Ex showed depth-dependent strain profiles where maximum Ex occurs at the low middle zone while in the half-defect mode, Ex showed heterogeneous strain profiles where maximum Ex occurs at the near deep zone. Ey and Exy at the interface site of both models present significantly differed from the host cartilage site. Ey and Exy exhibited region-specific change at the host, interface, and artificial cartilage sites in the superficial, middle, and deep zones due to the artificial cartilage implantation.


Both defect models of cartilage exhibited a heterogeneous strain field due to the engineered cartilage tissue implant. The abnormal strain field can cause the cells within the repaired area to enter complex mechanical states which will affect the restoration of cartilage defects.
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