what is the function of cartilage
Function of cartilage
The mechanical properties of articular cartilage in load bearing joints such as knee and hip have been studied extensively at macro, micro and nano-scales. These mechanical properties include the response of cartilage in frictional, compressive, shear and tensile loading. Cartilage is resilient and displays viscoelastic properties.
Lubricin, a glycoprotein abundant in cartilage and synovial fluid, plays a major role in bio-lubrication and wear protection of cartilage.
Cartilage has limited repair capabilities: Because chondrocytes are bound in lacunae, they cannot migrate to damaged areas. Therefore, cartilage damage is difficult to heal. Also, because hyaline cartilage does not have a blood supply, the deposition of new matrix is slow. Damaged hyaline cartilage is usually replaced by fibrocartilage scar tissue. Over the last years, surgeons and scientists have elaborated a series of cartilage repair procedures that help to postpone the need for joint replacement.
Bioengineering techniques are being developed to generate new cartilage, using a cellular “scaffolding” material and cultured cells to grow artificial cartilage.