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UC Davis researchers produce artificial cartilage that is as strong as natural

A group of biomedical engineers at UC Davis has used tension successfully to produce cartilage with tensile properties at the level of native tissue, according to a university announcement
In a new paper published in Nature Materials, Jennifer Lee, Le Huwe, Nikolaos Paschos, Ashkan Aryaei, Courtney Gegg, Jerry Hu, and Kyriacos Athanasiou describe the creation of scaffold-free tissue that they placed in devices that stretched it gently lengthwise with intermittent and constant tension for five days, according to the article.

Athanasiou is editor in chief of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering and a BMES fellow.

The researchers found increases in tensile modulus and strength six times those of untreated neocartilage, values at the levels of native cartilage.

By not using a scaffold—an external framework within which cells develop into tissue—the stress reached the cells directly. Scaffolds often cause stress-shielding because the tension applied to the system is borne by the scaffold and not directly felt by the cells. When stress reached the cells without interference from a scaffold it helped produce much stronger tissue.

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