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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 4368910, 13 pages
Review Article

Hydrogels for the Application of Articular Cartilage Tissue Engineering: A Review of Hydrogels

1Graduate Institute of Biomedical Materials and Tissue Engineering, International Ph.D. Program in Biomedical Engineering, College of Biomedical Engineering, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
2Department of Orthopedics, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Shuang Ho Hospital, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Biomedical Engineering, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
3Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence should be addressed to Chih-Hwa Chen; moc.rotcod@nehcafa

Received 27 June 2017; Revised 19 December 2017; Accepted 25 December 2017; Published 3 April 2018

Academic Editor: Jun Liu

Copyright © 2018 Er-Yuan Chuang 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.


The treatment of articular cartilage damage is a major task in the medical science of orthopedics. Hydrogels possess the ability to form multifunctional cartilage grafts since they possess polymeric swellability upon immersion in an aqueous phase. Polymeric hydrogels are capable of physiological swelling and greasing, and they possess the mechanical behavior required for use as articular cartilage substitutes. The chondrogenic phenotype of these materials may be enhanced by embedding living cells. Artificial hydrogels fabricated from biologically derived and synthesized polymeric materials are also used as tissue-engineering scaffolds; with their controlled degradation profiles, the release of stimulatory growth factors can be achieved. In order to make use of these hydrogels, cartilage implants were formulated in the laboratory to demonstrate the bionic mechanical behaviors of physiological cartilage. This paper discusses developments concerning the use of polymeric hydrogels for substituting injured cartilage tissue and assisting tissue growth. These gels are designed with consideration of their polymeric classification, mechanical strength, manner of biodegradation, limitations of the payload, cellular interaction, amount of cells in the 3D hydrogel, sustained release for the model drug, and the different approaches for incorporation into adjacent organs. This article also summarizes the different advantages, disadvantages, and the future prospects of hydrogels.