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 Mesenchymal stem cells regulate mechanical properties of human degenerated nucleus pulposus cells through SDF-1/CXCR4/AKT axis. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 May 6; Authors: Liu MH, Bian BS, Cui X, Liu LT, Liu H, Huang B, Cui YH, Bian XW, Zhou Y Abstract Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into the degenerated intervertebral disc (IVD) has shown promise for decelerating or arresting IVD degeneration. Cellular mechanical properties play crucial roles in regulating cell-matrix interactions, potentially reflecting specific changes that occur based on cellular phenotype and behavior. However, the effect of co-culturing of MSCs with nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) on the mechanical properties of NPCs remains unknown. In our study, we demonstrated that co-culture of degenerated NPCs with MSCs resulted in significantly decreased mechanical moduli (elastic modulus, relaxed modulus, and instantaneous modulus) and increased biological activity (proliferation and expression of matrix genes) in degenerated NPCs, but not normal NPCs. SDF-1, CXCR4 ligand, was highly expressed in MSCs when co-cultured with degenerated NPCs. Inhibition of SDF-1 using CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 or knocking-down CXCR4 in degenerated NPCs abolished the MSCs-induced decrease in the mechanical moduli and increased biological activity of degenerated NPCs, suggesting a crucial role for SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling. AKT and FAK inhibition attenuated the MSCs- or SDF-1-induced decrease in the mechanical moduli of degenerated NPCs. In conclusion, it was demonstrated in vitro that MSCs regulate the mechanical properties of degenerated NPCs through SDF-1/CXCR4/AKT signaling. These findings highlight a possible mechanical mechanism for MSCs-induced modulation with degenerated NPCs, which may be applicable to MSCs-based therapy for disc degeneration. PMID: 27163878 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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