Stem Cell Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease

Stem Cell Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease

Degeneration of the intervertebral disc, often called "degenerative disc disease" (DDD) of the spine, is a condition that can be painful and can greatly affect the quality of one's life.


While disc degeneration is a normal part of aging and for most people is not a problem, for certain individuals a degenerated disc can cause severe constant chronic pain. Often, degenerative disc disease can be successfully treated without surgery. One or a combination of treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) and other chiropractic treatments, osteopathic manipulation, anti-inflammatory medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, traction, or spinal injections often provide adequate relief of these troubling symptoms.

Degenerative discs typically show degenerative fibrocartilage and clusters of chondrocytes, suggestive of repair. Inflammation may or may not be present. Histologic examination of disc fragments resected for presumed DDD is routine to exclude malignancy.

Fibrocartilage replaces the gelatinous mucoid material of the nucleus pulposus as the disc changes with age. There may be splits in the annulus fibrosis, permitting herniation of elements of nucleus pulposus. There may also be shrinkage of the nucleus pulposus that produces prolapse of the annulus with secondary osteophyte formation at the margins of the adjacent vertebral body.

The pathologic findings in DDD include protrusion, spondylolysis, and/or subluxation of vertebrae (sponylolisthesis) and spinal stenosis.


Stem Cell Treatment and Degenerative Disc Disease NIH Streaming Database

Related Articles Stem cells in degenerative orthopaedic pathologies: effects of aging on therapeutic potential. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2015 Aug 23; Authors: Atesok K, Fu FH, Sekiya I, Stolzing A, Ochi M, Rodeo SA Abstract PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to summarize the current evidence on the use of stem cells in the elderly population with degenerative orthopaedic pathologies and to highlight the pathophysiologic mechanisms behind today's therapeutic challenges in stem cell-based regeneration of destructed tissues in the elderly patients with osteoarthritis (OA), degenerative disc disease (DDD), and tendinopathies. METHODS: Clinical and basic science studies that report the use of stem cells in the elderly patients with OA, DDD, and tendinopathies were identified using a PubMed search. The studies published in English have been assessed, and the best and most recent evidence was included in the current study. RESULTS: Evidence suggests that, although short-term results regarding the effects of stem cell therapy in degenerative orthopaedic pathologies can be promising, stem cell therapies do not appear to reverse age-related tissue degeneration. Causes of suboptimal outcomes can be attributed to the decrease in the therapeutic potential of aged stem cell populations and the regenerative capacity of these cells, which might be negatively influenced in an aged microenvironment within the degenerated tissues of elderly patients with OA, DDD, and tendinopathies. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical protocols guiding the use of stem cells in the elderly patient population are still under development, and high-level randomized controlled trials with long-term outcomes are lacking. Understanding the consequences of age-related changes in stem cell function and responsiveness of the in vivo microenvironment to stem cells is critical when designing cell-based therapies for elderly patients with degenerative orthopaedic pathologies. PMID: 26298714 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Quick Contact Form