Aims: The main cause of low back pain is the intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. Designing an effective disc regeneration strategy still remains a major challenge, especially for the lack of effective self-healing capacity. Understanding the properties of IVD cells in the degenerate microenvironment could help to develop in situ regeneration strategies. The objective of the present study was to investigate the ability of degenerate cells to respond to conditions they experience physiologically in their niche in vivo, namely the presence of the hypoxic environment and trophic factors. Main methods: Degenerate cells from IVD of patients operated for herniated disc were exposed to hypoxic priming and decellularized Wharton's jelly matrix (DWJM) as scaffold and trophic factors source for 48 h in culture. Cell response was evaluated in terms of cell viability, proliferation, cytoskeletal organization, migratory ability and expression of discogenic transcription factors (SOX9, TRPS1), hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and longevity transcription factor FOXO3a. The recruitment of HIF-1α at FOXO3a and SOX9 gene promoters was analyzed by Chromatin immunoprecipitation. Key findings: Degenerate IVD cells were able to re-acquire the discogenic phenotype, and to re-adapt to hypoxia after exposure to hypoxic priming and DWJM. We demonstrated for the first time that HIF-1α is specifically recruited at the promoter of SOX9 and FOXO3a which are crucial for IVD homeostasis and repair. Significance: These results open new avenues to engineer IVD by demonstrating that appropriate stimuli are able to dampen the degenerated IVD cell phenotype and to promote anabolic activity in cells which are constitutively characterized by poor reparative capacity.

Decellularized extracellular matrix-based scaffold and hypoxic priming: A promising combination to improve the phenotype of degenerate intervertebral disc cells

D'Agostino, Stefania
Investigation
;
Pozzobon, Michela
Data Curation
;
2022

Abstract

Aims: The main cause of low back pain is the intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. Designing an effective disc regeneration strategy still remains a major challenge, especially for the lack of effective self-healing capacity. Understanding the properties of IVD cells in the degenerate microenvironment could help to develop in situ regeneration strategies. The objective of the present study was to investigate the ability of degenerate cells to respond to conditions they experience physiologically in their niche in vivo, namely the presence of the hypoxic environment and trophic factors. Main methods: Degenerate cells from IVD of patients operated for herniated disc were exposed to hypoxic priming and decellularized Wharton's jelly matrix (DWJM) as scaffold and trophic factors source for 48 h in culture. Cell response was evaluated in terms of cell viability, proliferation, cytoskeletal organization, migratory ability and expression of discogenic transcription factors (SOX9, TRPS1), hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and longevity transcription factor FOXO3a. The recruitment of HIF-1α at FOXO3a and SOX9 gene promoters was analyzed by Chromatin immunoprecipitation. Key findings: Degenerate IVD cells were able to re-acquire the discogenic phenotype, and to re-adapt to hypoxia after exposure to hypoxic priming and DWJM. We demonstrated for the first time that HIF-1α is specifically recruited at the promoter of SOX9 and FOXO3a which are crucial for IVD homeostasis and repair. Significance: These results open new avenues to engineer IVD by demonstrating that appropriate stimuli are able to dampen the degenerated IVD cell phenotype and to promote anabolic activity in cells which are constitutively characterized by poor reparative capacity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3447425
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