Background: Chronic low back pain is a prevalent disability, often caused by intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy could be a safe and feasible option for repairing the degenerated disc. However, for successful translation to the clinic, various challenges need to be overcome including unwanted adverse effects due to acidic pH, hypoxia, and limited nutrition. Matrilin-3 is an essential extracellular matrix (ECM) component during cartilage development and ossification and exerts chondrocyte protective effects. Methods: This study evaluated the effects of matrilin-3-primed adipose-derived MSCs (Ad-MSCs) on the repair of the degenerated disc in vitro and in vivo. We determined the optimal priming concentration and duration and developed an optimal protocol for Ad-MSC spheroid generation. Results: Priming with 10 ng/ml matrilin-3 for 5 days resulted in the highest mRNA expression of type 2 collagen and aggrecan in vitro. Furthermore, Ad-MSC spheroids with a density of 250 cells/microwell showed the increased secretion of favorable growth factors such as transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β1), TGF-β2, interleukin-10 (IL-10), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1) and decreased secretion of hypertrophic ECM components. In addition, matrilin-3-primed Ad-MSC spheroid implantation was associated with optimal repair in a rabbit model. Conclusion: Our results suggest that priming MSCs with matrilin-3 and spheroid formation could be an effective strategy to overcome the challenges associated with the use of MSCs for the treatment of IVD degeneration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Medicine
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Cell Biology