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 Self-assembling peptide hydrogel for intervertebral disc tissue engineering. Acta Biomater. 2016 Sep 24;: Authors: Wan S, Borland S, Richardson SM, Merry CL, Saiani A, Gough JE Abstract Cell-based therapies for regeneration of intervertebral discs are regarded to hold promise for degenerative disc disease treatment, a condition that is strongly linked to lower back pain. A de novo self-assembling peptide hydrogel (SAPH), chosen for its biocompatibility, tailorable properties and nanofibrous architecture, was investigated as a cell carrier and scaffold for nucleus pulposus (NP) tissue engineering. Oscillatory rheology determined that the system would likely be deliverable via minimally invasive procedure and mechanical properties could be optimised to match the stiffness of the native human NP. After three-dimensional culture of NP cells (NPCs) in the SAPH, upregulation of NP-specific genes (KRT8, KRT18, FOXF1) confirmed that the system could restore the NP phenotype following de-differentiation during monolayer culture. Cell viability was high throughout culture whilst, similarly to NPCs in vivo, the viable cell population remained stable. Finally, the SAPH stimulated time-dependent increases in aggrecan and type II collagen deposition, two important NP extracellular matrix components. Results supported the hypothesis that the SAPH could be used as a cell delivery system and scaffold for the treatment of degenerative disc disease. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Lower back pain (LBP) prevalence is widespread due to an aging population and the limited efficacy of current treatments. As LBP is strongly associated with intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, it is thought that cell-based therapies could alleviate LBP by repairing IVD tissue. Various natural and synthetic biomaterials have been investigated as potential IVD tissue engineering scaffolds. Self-assembling peptide hydrogels (SAPHs) combine advantages of both natural and synthetic biomaterials; for example they are biocompatible and have easily modifiable properties. The present study demonstrated that a de novo SAPH had comparable strength to the native tissue, was injectable, restored the IVD cell phenotype and stimulated deposition of appropriate matrix components. Results illustrated the promise of SAPHs as scaffolds for IVD tissue engineering. PMID: 27677593 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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