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Highly Accessed Review

Tissue engineering in the rheumatic diseases

Jochen Ringe* and Michael Sittinger

Author Affiliations

Tissue Engineering Laboratory and Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Tucholskystr. 2, 10117 Berlin, Germany

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:211  doi:10.1186/ar2572

Published: 30 January 2009

Abstract

Diseases such as degenerative or rheumatoid arthritis are accompanied by joint destruction. Clinically applied tissue engineering technologies like autologous chondrocyte implantation, matrix-assisted chondrocyte implantation, or in situ recruitment of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells target the treatment of traumatic defects or of early osteoarthritis. Inflammatory conditions in the joint hamper the application of tissue engineering during chronic joint diseases. Here, most likely, cartilage formation is impaired and engineered neocartilage will be degraded. Based on the observations that mesenchymal stem cells (a) develop into joint tissues and (b) in vitro and in vivo show immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory qualities indicating a transplant-protecting activity, these cells are prominent candidates for future tissue engineering approaches for the treatment of rheumatic diseases. Tissue engineering also provides highly organized three-dimensional in vitro culture models of human cells and their extracellular matrix for arthritis research.