Articular cartilage covers the articulating bones within synovial joints. It provides a bearing surface with low friction and wear properties. Although cartilage can function effectively for decades, it has limited ability to repair itself. Damage to articular cartilage is linked to degenerative diseases like Osteoarthritis (OA), which is a leading cause of disability in the United States. While severe cases of OA may be treated with a total joint replacement, tissue engineered (TE) cartilage is now emerging as a potential alternative treatment. TE constructs must function in the highly loaded environment of diarthrodial joints for many years. We have been investigating the mechanical behavior of tissue-engineered cartilage under combined compression and shear. Previous studies showed failure of TE cartilage under combined cyclic shear and static compressive loads, while native cartilage remained intact. Subsequent investigations identified a cell rich (matrix deficient) region in the middle layer of TE cartilage, which is sandwiched between matrix rich outer layers with lower cellularity. The objectives of this study are to determine the mechanical behavior of TE articular cartilage throughout its depth under static compressive and shear deformation. Failure under shear deformation, and the relationship between failure and the previously identified matrix deficient and matrix rich regions are of particular interest.
Listed In: Biomechanical Engineering, Biomechanics, Mechanical Engineering