The osteoarthritic niche and modulation of skeletal stem cell function for regenerative medicine
Williams EL., Edwards CJ., Cooper C., Oreffo ROC.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of arthritis worldwide and represents a significant healthcare burden, particularly in the context of an ageing population. Traditionally, painkillers, injections and physiotherapy have been the mainstay of treatment, with patients being referred for joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty) when these options fail. Whilst effective in reducing pain and improving joint function, these approaches are not without potential complications. With the development of tissue-engineering techniques over recent years there has been considerable interest in applying these strategies to provide new, innovative, alternative effective means of treating OA. This review explores the unique microenvironment present within an osteoarthritic joint, highlighting the features that comprise the osteoarthritic niche and could be modulated in the development of novel treatments for OA. Existing tissue-engineering strategies for repairing bone and cartilage defects are discussed, with particular reference to how these might be modified, both to improve existing treatments, such as impaction bone grafting, as well as in the development of future treatments for OA. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.