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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 1195; doi:10.3390/ijms19041195

Inhibitory Effects of Human Primary Intervertebral Disc Cells on Human Primary Osteoblasts in a Co-Culture System

1
Tissue and Organ Mechanobiology, Institute for Surgical Technology and Biomechanics, University of Bern, CH-3014 Bern, Switzerland
2
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Musculoskeletal Diseases Therapy)
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Abstract

Spinal fusion is a common surgical procedure to address a range of spinal pathologies, like damaged or degenerated discs. After the removal of the intervertebral disc (IVD), a structural spacer is positioned followed by internal fixation, and fusion of the degenerated segment by natural bone growth. Due to their osteoinductive properties, bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are applied to promote spinal fusion. Although spinal fusion is successful in most patients, the rates of non-unions after lumbar spine fusion range from 5% to 35%. Clinical observations and recent studies indicate, that the incomplete removal of disc tissue might lead to failure of spinal fusion. Yet, it is still unknown if a secretion of BMP antagonists in intervertebral disc (IVD) cells could be the reason of inhibition in bone formation. In this study, we co-cultured human primary osteoblasts (OB) and IVD cells i.e., nucleus pulposus (NPC), annulus fibrosus (AFC) and cartilaginous endplate cells (CEPC), to test the possible inhibitory effect from IVD cells on OB. Although we could see a trend in lower matrix mineralization in OB co-cultured with IVD cells, results of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and gene expression of major bone genes were inconclusive. However, in NPC, AFC and CEPC beads, an up-regulation of several BMP antagonist genes could be detected. Despite being able to show several indicators for an inhibition of osteoinductive effects due to IVD cells, the reasons for pseudarthrosis after spinal fusion remain unclear. View Full-Text
Keywords: human primary intervertebral disc cells; human primary osteoblasts; co-culture; spinal fusion; BMP antagonists human primary intervertebral disc cells; human primary osteoblasts; co-culture; spinal fusion; BMP antagonists
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May, R.D.; Frauchiger, D.A.; Albers, C.E.; Benneker, L.M.; Kohl, S.; Gantenbein, B. Inhibitory Effects of Human Primary Intervertebral Disc Cells on Human Primary Osteoblasts in a Co-Culture System. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1195.

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