In Situ Cross-Linkable Polymer Systems and Composites for Osteochondral Regeneration

Injectable hydrogels have demonstrated being a promising strategy for cartilage and bone tissue engineering applications, owing to their minimal invasive injection procedure, easy incorporation of cells and bioactive molecules, improved contact with the surrounding tissues and ability to match defects with complex irregular shapes, characteristics of osteoarthritic pathology. These unique properties make them highly suitable bioscaffolds for treating defects which are otherwise not easily accessible without and invasive surgical procedure. In this book chapter it has been summarized the novel appropriate injectable hydrogels for cartilage and bone tissue engineering applications of the last few years, including the most commonly used materials for the preparation, both natural and synthetic, and their fabrication techniques. The design of a suitable injectable hydrogel with an adequate gelation time that gathers perfect bioactive, biocompatible, biodegradable and good mechanical properties for clinical repair of damaged cartilage and bone tissue is a challenge of significant medical interest that remain to be achieved.

Contribution of bioactive hyaluronic acid and gelatin to regenerative medicine. Methodologies of gels preparation and advanced applications

The functionality and reactivity of polysaccharides, and in particular hyaluronic acid, in combination with proteins like gelatin, collagen and many others, offer very interesting opportunities for the new trends in regenerative medicine. In this review is described the relevance of gelatin (Gel) and hyaluronic acid (HA) biopolymers in the field of tissue engineering due to the excellent response of these biomimetic materials and their bioactive and biodegradable character in the human body. In addition, it is reported an overview of the most relevant crosslinking processes and agents that are being developed for regenerative medicine, including different hydrogel modifications as well as several interesting and advanced applications. The growing of clinical applications of these macromolecular components as assemblies opens new and advanced opportunities in regenerative medicine and drug delivery fields.

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