11072018 1531295465

Articular cartilage acts as a load-bearing material and is characterized as a heterogeneous and multi-zonal tissue. The physical and biomechanical functions of cartilage entirely depend on the amount, type, and specific configuration of its tissue components, which are all controlled by chondrocytes. Therefore complicated molecular mechanisms exist that maintain the mechanical integrity of cartilage matrix and its normal function. In this paper, we review different characterization techniques that can determine the biomechanical and physical properties such as diffusivity of both healthy and degenerated cartilage. These include compression tests and indentation at different scales, from a macroscopic tissue level down to the molecular scale, as well as imaging methods to detect diffusion. Together, this represents a comprehensive overview of the mechanical and physical properties of the cartilage matrix at various scales. Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in cartilage integrity may significantly improve our knowledge of the physical behavior in healthy and diseased cartilage tissue, which is important in the development of finding better strategies for cartilage repair.

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