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Stem Cells InternationalVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 168385, 9 pages

Review Article

Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Campus Bio-Medico University, Via Alvaro del Portillo 200, Trigoria, 00128 Rome, Italy

Centro Integrato di Ricerca CIR, Università Campus Bio-Medico, Via Alvaro del Portillo, 21, 00128, Rome, Italy

Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Mile End Hospital, 275 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DG, UK

Received 15 October 2011; Accepted 6 December 2011

Academic Editor: Wasim S. Khan

Copyright © 2012 Umile Giuseppe Longo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cartilage defects represent a common problem in orthopaedic practice. Predisposing factors include traumas, inflammatory conditions, and biomechanics alterations. Conservative management of cartilage defects often fails, and patients with this lesions may need surgical intervention. Several treatment strategies have been proposed, although only surgery has been proved to be predictably effective. Usually, in focal cartilage defects without a stable fibrocartilaginous repair tissue formed, surgeons try to promote a natural fibrocartilaginous response by using marrow stimulating techniques, such as microfracture, abrasion arthroplasty, and Pridie drilling, with the aim of reducing swelling and pain and improving joint function of the patients. These procedures have demonstrated to be clinically useful and are usually considered as first-line treatment for focal cartilage defects. However, fibrocartilage presents inferior mechanical and biochemical properties compared to normal hyaline articular cartilage, characterized by poor organization, significant amounts of collagen type I, and an increased susceptibility to injury, which ultimately leads to premature osteoarthritis OA. Therefore, the aim of future therapeutic strategies for articular cartilage regeneration is to obtain a hyaline-like cartilage repair tissue by transplantation of tissues or cells. Further studies are required to clarify the role of gene therapy and mesenchimal stem cells for management of cartilage lesions.

Author: Umile Giuseppe Longo, Stefano Petrillo, Edoardo Franceschetti, Alessandra Berton, Nicola Maffulli, and Vincenzo Denaro



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