Seaweed polysaccharide-based hydrogels used for the regeneration of articular cartilage
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This manuscript provides an overview of the in vitro and in vivo studies reported in the literature focusing on seaweed polysaccharides based hydrogels that have been proposed for applications in regenerative medicine, particularly, in the field of cartilage tissue engineering. For a better understanding of the main requisites for these specific applications, the main aspects of the native cartilage structure, as well as recognized diseases that affect this tissue are briefly described. Current available treatments are also presented to emphasize the need for alternative techniques. The following part of this review is centered on the description of the general characteristics of algae polysaccharides, as well as relevant properties required for designing hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering purposes. An in-depth overview of the most well known seaweed polysaccharide, namely agarose, alginate, carrageenan and ulvan biopolymeric gels, that have been proposed for engineering cartilage is also provided. Finally, this review describes and summarizes the translational aspect for the clinical application of alternative systems emphasizing the importance of cryopreservation and the commercial products currently available for cartilage treatment.