Treating joint diseases remains a significant clinical challenge. Conventional in vitro cultures and animal models have been helpful, but suffer from limited predictive power for the human response. Advanced models are therefore required to mimic the complex biological interactions within the human joint. However, the intricate structure of the joint microenvironment and the complex nature of joint diseases have challenged the development of in vitro models that can faithfully mimic the in vivo physiological and pathological environments. In this review, we discuss the current in vitro models of the joint and the progress achieved in the development of novel and potentially more predictive models, and highlight the application of new technologies to accurately emulate the articular joint.
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