Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are exciting candidates for cellular repopulation and repair in intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). Our purpose is to investigate the interaction between MSCs and nucleus polposus cells (NPCs) and to determine viability of MSC in the intervertebral disc (IVD).
Human NPCs and hMSCs were co-cultured in pellet system at different ratios. Proteoglycans were measured and normalized with DNA content. Histological analysis were also performed. Rabbit MSCs from bone marrow were trasduced with LacZ reporter gene and were injected into a rabbit IVD. Rabbits were sacrificed postoperatively at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks. Histological analysis was performed.
Co-culturing of hNPCs with hMSCs resulted in increases proteoglycans as compared with hNPCs alone. Histological examination of the injected IVDs revealed presence of MSCs without apparent decrease in numbers or diminishment of protein production at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks.
The data from this study show that there is a synergistic effect between MSCs and NPCs resulting in upregulated proteoglycan synthesis in-vitro. MSC remain viable and continue to express an ex-vivo transduced protein for up to 24 weeks. These results suggest that MSCs can survive in the harsh environment of the IVD and may favourably modify ECM production.
Correspondence should be addressed to Ariella Neustadt at Studio EGA, Professional Congress Organisers, Viale Tiziano, 19 - 00196, Rome - Italy.