The natural synovial joints have excellent tribological performance known as very low friction and very low wear for various daily activities in human life. These functions are likely to be supported by the adaptive multimode lubrication mechanism, in which the various lubrication modes appear to operate to protect articular cartilage and reduce friction, depending on the severity of the rubbing conditions. In this paper, the biomechanical and biotribological importance of surface and surface zone in articular cartilage is described in relation to frictional behavior and deformation. It is pointed out that the replenishment of gel film removed during severe rubbing is likely to be controlled by supply of proteoglycan from the extracellular matrix, where the chondrocyte plays the main role in the metabolism. The roles of surface profiles and elastic property measured by atomic force microscopy are described. It is shown that the local deformation of biphasic articular cartilage remarkably changes with time under constant total compressive deformation. The importance of clarification of actual strain around chondrocyte is discussed in relation to the restoration of damaged articular cartilage.
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