eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2021   Volume No 42 – pages 246-263

Title: Hydrostatic pressure mimicking diurnal spinal movements maintains anabolic turnover in bovine nucleus pulposus cells in vitro

Authors: F Vieira, J Kang, L Ferreira, S Mizuno

Address: Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 60 Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115, USA

E-mail: smizuno at

Abstract: Treatment strategies for progressive intervertebral-disc degeneration often alleviate pain and other symptoms. With the goal of developing strategies to promote the regeneration of the nucleus pulposus (NP), the present study tried to identify the biological effects of hydrostatic (HP) and osmotic pressures on NP cells. The study hypothesis was that a repetitive regimen of cyclic HP followed by constant HP in high-osmolality medium would increase anabolic molecules in NP cells. Bovine NP cells/clusters were enclosed within semi-permeable membrane pouches and incubated under a regimen of cyclic HP for 2 d followed by constant HP for 1 d, repeated 6 times over 18 d. NP cells showed a significantly increased expression of anabolic genes over time: aggrecan, chondroitin sulfate N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 1, hyaluronan synthase 2, collagen type 2 (p < 0.05). In addition, the expression of catabolic or degenerative genes (matrix metalloproteinase 13, collagen type 1) and cellular characteristic genes (proliferating cell nucleic antigen, E-cadherin) was suppressed. The amount of sulfated glycosaminoglycan increased significantly at day 18 compared to day 3 (p < 0.01). Immunostaining revealed deposition of extracellular-matrix molecules and localization of other specific molecules corresponding to their genetic expression. An improved understanding of how cells respond to physicochemical stresses will help to better treat the degenerating disc using either cell- or gene-based therapies as well as other potential matrix-enhancing therapies. Efforts to apply these tissue-engineering and regenerative-medicine strategies will need to consider these important physicochemical stresses that may have a major impact on the survivability of such treatments.

Key Words: Extracellular matrix, nucleus pulposus, hydrostatic pressure, osmotic pressure, metabolic turnover, in vitro model.

Publication date: October 7th 2021

Article download: Pages 246-263 (PDF file)

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