Cartilage Tissue Engineering and Electrospinning

Cartilage-related diseases are a promising field to explore in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The cartilage hydrated structure is aneural, avascular, and non-lymphatic, which complicates natural regeneration [1,2]. The increase in life expectancy and obesity is directly correlated to osteoarthritis –the disease caused by the degradation of cartilage. The painful consequences also increase comorbidities and burden patients and healthcare providers with exorbitant costs [3,4].

Currently, surgical and non-surgical therapies are employed to address osteoarthritis. They are not permanent solutions [5–7]. Therefore, several groups are developing hydrogels [8,9], electrospun mats [10], and other biomaterials to mimic the natural properties of cartilage. These implants can increase patients’ quality of life, reducing pain, comorbidities, and other undesirable effects after their clinical trials and regulatory agency approval.


Chondrocyte proliferation on neutralized chitosan fiber mats. Image adapted from under Creative Commons License

Yilmaz and Zeugolis discuss the promises, challenges, and future perspectives of electrospinning applied to cartilage tissue engineering [11]. They emphasize that although electrospinning literature is abundant in the Pubmed database, few studies explore electrospining’s potential applied to cartilage tissue engineering. The authors demonstrate with pre-clinical results that stem cell-seeded electrospun scaffolds combined with other techniques (3D printing and freeze-drying) can recover lubricating properties, mechanical resistance and restore cartilage tissue properties [11]. Although the reviewed studies consider small animals (rats, mice, and rabbits), they are promising to people suffering from the pain and harmful effects of osteoarthritis worldwide [11].


This article was written by André Plath as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

André is researching Boundary Lubrication of Fibrous Scaffolds at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.




[1]        L.M. Billesberger, K.M. Fisher, Y.J. Qadri, R.L. Boortz-Marx, Procedural Treatments for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Review of Current Injectable Therapies, Pain Res. Manag. 2020 (2020) 1–11.

[2]        E.D. Bonnevie, V.J. Baro, L. Wang, D.L. Burris, Fluid load support during localized indentation of cartilage with a spherical probe, J. Biomech. 45 (2012) 1036–1041.

[3]        S. Glyn-Jones, A.J.R. Palmer, R. Agricola, A.J. Price, T.L. Vincent, H. Weinans, A.J. Carr, Osteoarthritis, in: Lancet, Lancet Publishing Group, 2015: pp. 376–387.

[4]        D.J. Hunter, L. March, M. Chew, Osteoarthritis in 2020 and beyond: a Lancet Commission, Lancet. 396 (2020) 1711–1712.

[5]        Y. Lee, J. Choi, N.S. Hwang, Regulation of lubricin for functional cartilage tissue regeneration: a review, Biomater. Res. 22 (2018) 9.

[6]        G. Musumeci, C. Loreto, M.L. Carnazza, F. Coppolino, V. Cardile, R. Leonardi, Lubricin is expressed in chondrocytes derived from osteoarthritic cartilage encapsulated in poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate scaffold, Eur. J. Histochem. 55 (2011) 31.

[7]        W. Kabir, C. Di Bella, I. Jo, D. Gould, P.F.M. Choong, Human Stem Cell Based Tissue Engineering for In Vivo Cartilage Repair: A Systematic Review, Tissue Eng. Part B Rev. 27 (2021).

[8]        Y. Gombert, R. Simič, F. Roncoroni, M. Dübner, T. Geue, N.D. Spencer, Structuring Hydrogel Surfaces for Tribology, Adv. Mater. Interfaces. 6 (2019) 1901320.

[9]        M. Jurak, A.E. Wiącek, A. Ładniak, K. Przykaza, K. Szafran, What affects the biocompatibility of polymers?, Adv. Colloid Interface Sci. 294 (2021) 102451.

[10]      J.K. Wise, A.L. Yarin, C.M. Megaridis, M. Cho, Chondrogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Oriented Nanofibrous Scaffolds: Engineering the Superficial Zone of Articular Cartilage, Tissue Eng. Part A. 15 (2009) 913–921.

[11]      E.N. Yilmaz, D.I. Zeugolis, Electrospun Polymers in Cartilage Engineering—State of Play, Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 8 (2020).

BioTrib Conversations: Clinical expertise in polymer, dental and joint replacement biotribology

In Episode 5 of BioTrib Conversations, Prof Nazanin Emami (BioTrib Lead Scientist, Luleå University of Technology) discusses with Prof Richard Hall (BioTrib Co-ordinator, University of Leeds) her career path to becoming a leading researcher in biotribology and the importance of a clinical understanding within medical device development.


NuSpine Outreach Videos

Early Stage Researchers within the NU-SPINE ETN produced six videos for BeCurious outreach events in 2020/21.

Cervical Total Disc Replacement – Faizal Kamarol

Have you or anyone you know ever suffered from a neck problem? Faizal Kamarol from the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering explains research into Cervical Total Disc Replacement (CTDR), a procedure for patients who suffer wear and tear of the spinal discs in the neck.

Developing Spinal Simulators – Kaushikk Iyer

Kaushikk Iyer from the Unviersity of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering and Key Engineering Solutions is developing spinal simulators to help test spinal disc implants, to ensure they can be used to treat patients safely.

Tribology of facet joints – Beril Saadet Yenigul

Beril Saadet Yenigul from the NU-SPINE project at the University of Leeds gives an introduction to biotribology, facet joints, and the challenges of designing facet joint replacements!

Spinal fusion surgery – Xiaoyu Du

Xiaoyu Du from the NU-SPINE project at ETH Zurich, interrupts cooking dinner to show us how spinal fusion surgery works with some of her ingredients!

Structural engineering – Thijs Smit

Thijs Smit from the NU-SPINE project at the University of Science and Technology, ETH Zurich, shows us some do-it-yourself engineering, using… LEGO! Why not try building your own super-strong structure at home with lego too?

Understanding Non-Newtonian Fluid with SLIME! – Yijun Zhou

With the help of ‘Ms Shark’, Yijun Zhou from the NU-SPINE project at Uppsala University shows us a fun Non-Newtonian fluid experiment you can do at home by making SLIME!

Interesting paper that investigates corrosion and tribocorrosion behavior of binary and ternary carbide coatings for load-bearing implants

An exciting paper discussing the feasibility of binary and ternary carbide coatings for load-bearing implants with improved biocompatibility was published by Pana and co-workers in 2020. The peer-reviewed article was published in the Coatings journal and it is titled “In vitro corrosion and tribocorrosion performance of biocompatible carbide coatings”.

This work assessed elemental and phase composition, tribo-mechanical properties, corrosion and tribocorrosion of coatings deposited by cathodic arc evaporation on polished 316L SS discs (Ra = 50 ± 2 nm). TiNbC coating outperformed the other synthesized coatings in terms of initial surface roughness and corrosion resistance (shown by the lowest change in Ra before and after corrosion tests). Even though ZrC and TiNbC displayed similar polished wear tracks, the latter exhibited the lowest friction coefficient and wear rate on the tribocorrosion tests.

These results delivery an important advancement towards the development of coatings more biocompatible, presenting higher corrosion resistance along with improved tribocorrosion performance. The graphical abstract shown below showcases some of the results of this worth reading paper.


CC License – 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Pana, I.; Vladescu, A.; Constantin, L.R.; Sandu, I.G.; Dinu, M.; Cotrut, C.M. In Vitro Corrosion and Tribocorrosion Performance of Biocompatible Carbide Coatings. Coatings 2020, 10, 654.


This post was written by Pedro Luiz Lima dos Santos as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Pedro is researching the Functional Biotribology of the Surface Engineering of 3D Printed Components at the University of Leeds, UK.

Final day of Pride month – the EU keeps the good fight up! 🏳️‍🌈

Pride month has offered a vibrant opportunity to celebrate diversity and the identities of our friends, colleagues and communities.

However, recent news of the Hungarian bill which set out to ban teaching of LGBTQ+ topics in schools is a callous and unfortunate reminder that there are still many marginalised LGBTQ+ communities.

BioTrib and its members are proud to be part of a European community that was quick to condemn this shameful bill. The President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, released an uncompromising statement reassuring us all that the Hungarian bill is at loggerheads with the fundamental values of the EU and will not stand for discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity.

I will use all the powers of the Commission to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed. Whoever they are and where ever they live within the European Union.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Read President von der Leyen’s full statement here or alternatively watch it here.

BioTrib Conversations: Modelling Bio-Lubricated Contacts

Prof Richard Hall (BioTrib Co-ordinator University of Leeds) and Dr Rob Hewson (BioTrib Lead Scientist, Imperial College London) discuss applications of advanced computational methods in biotribology, modelling synovial joints and the behavior of synovial fluid, and the roles of experimental engineers working with experts in fluid dynamics modelling.