Defects of articular cartilage present a unique clinical challenge due to its poor self-healing capacity and avascular nature. Current surgical treatment options do not ensure consistent regeneration of hyaline cartilage in favor of fibrous tissue. Here, we review the current understanding of the most important biological regulators of chondrogenesis and their interactions, to provide insight into potential applications for cartilage tissue engineering. These include various signaling pathways, including fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)/bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs), Wnt/β-catenin, Hedgehog, Notch, hypoxia, and angiogenic signaling pathways. Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of chondrogenesis will also be discussed. Advances in our understanding of these signaling pathways have led to promising advances in cartilage regeneration and tissue engineering.
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