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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 648459, 8 pages
Review Article

The ECM-Cell Interaction of Cartilage Extracellular Matrix on Chondrocytes

Institute of Orthopedics, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China

Received 14 February 2014; Accepted 24 April 2014; Published 18 May 2014

Academic Editor: Albana Ndreu-Halili

Copyright © 2014 Yue Gao 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.


Cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) is composed primarily of the network type II collagen (COLII) and an interlocking mesh of fibrous proteins and proteoglycans (PGs), hyaluronic acid (HA), and chondroitin sulfate (CS). Articular cartilage ECM plays a crucial role in regulating chondrocyte metabolism and functions, such as organized cytoskeleton through integrin-mediated signaling via cell-matrix interaction. Cell signaling through integrins regulates several chondrocyte functions, including differentiation, metabolism, matrix remodeling, responses to mechanical stimulation, and cell survival. The major signaling pathways that regulate chondrogenesis have been identified as wnt signal, nitric oxide (NO) signal, protein kinase C (PKC), and retinoic acid (RA) signal. Integrins are a large family of molecules that are central regulators in multicellular biology. They orchestrate cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesive interactions from embryonic development to mature tissue function. In this review, we emphasize the signaling molecule effect and the biomechanics effect of cartilage ECM on chondrogenesis.