Canine notochordal cell-secreted factors protect murine and human nucleus pulposus cells from apoptosis by inhibition of activated caspase-9 and caspase-3/7.
ABSTRACT: Introduction Effective therapies that may stop or even reverse disc degeneration remain elusive. A minimally invasive method through which nucleus pulposus (NP) cell viability could be achieved would revolutionize the treatment of degenerative disc disease (DDD). With the presented work, we have investigated if nonchondrodystrophic (NCD) canine intervertebral disc (IVD)-derived notochordal cell conditioned medium (NCCM) and chondrodystrophic (CD) canine IVD-derived conditioned medium (CDCM) are able to protect murine and human NP cells from apoptosis. Materials and Methods We developed NCCM and CDCM from hypoxic culture of freshly isolated NPs from NCD and CD canines, respectively. We obtained murine NP cells from nine different C57BL/6 mice and human NP cells from four patients who underwent surgery for discectomy. The cells were cultured with ADMEM/F-12 (control media), NCCM, or CDCM under hypoxic conditions (3.5% O2) and treated with IL-1β + FasL or Etoposide. All media were supplemented with 2% fetal bovine serum. We then determined the expression of specific apoptotic pathways in the murine and human NP cells by recording activated caspase-8, caspase-9, and caspase-3/7 activity. Results In the murine NP cells, NCCM inhibits IL-1β + FasL- and Etoposide-mediated apoptosis via suppression of activated caspase-9 and caspase-3/7, CDCM demonstrated an inhibitory effect on IL-1β + FasL-mediated apoptosis via caspase-3/7 (Fig. 1A). In the human NP cells, NCCM inhibits Etoposide- mediated apoptosis via suppression of activated caspase-8, caspase-9, and mainly caspase-3/7. CDCM demonstrated an inhibitory effect on Etoposide-mediated apoptosis via suppression of activated caspase-8, caspase-9, and mainly caspase-3/7, though not as effective as NCCM (Fig. 1B). Conclusion IL-1β + FasL are known key molecules in the progression of DDD. Here, we demonstrate that soluble factors secreted by the NCD IVD NP strongly protect murine NP cells not only from IL-1β + FasL but also from Etoposide-induced apoptosis via suppression of activated caspase-9 and caspase-3/7. In the human samples, addition of IL-1β + FasL did not increase cell death. Because the human cell samples were obtained from herniated discs that are probably already undergoing a degenerative process, it is likely that there was already some degree of activation by the endogenously secreted prodegenerative factors such as IL-1β + FasL. It may be that the NP cells, once they have reached a pivotal point of the degenerative cascade, no longer respond to exogenously applied IL-1β + FasL in contrast to the otherwise "healthy" discs obtained from the mice. Interestingly, the rescue effect of NCCM in the etoposide-treated cells (murine and human) suggests that NCCM is capable of influencing the signaling pathways known to be relevant to etoposide-induced cell death. A better understanding and harnessing of the restorative powers of the notochordal cell could lead to novel cellular and molecular strategies for the treatment of DDD.
Project description:The relative resistance of non-chondrodystrophic (NCD) canines to degenerative disc disease (DDD) may be due to a combination of anabolic and anti-catabolic factors secreted by notochordal cells within the intervertebral disc (IVD) nucleus pulposus (NP). Factors known to induce DDD include interleukin-1 beta (IL-1ß) and/or Fas-Ligand (Fas-L). Therefore we evaluated the ability of notochordal cell conditioned medium (NCCM) to protect NP cells from IL-1ß and IL-1ß +FasL-mediated cell death and degeneration.We cultured bovine NP cells with IL-1ß or IL-1ß+FasL under hypoxic serum-free conditions (3.5% O2) and treated the cells with either serum-free NCCM or basal medium (Advanced DMEM/F-12). We used flow cytometry to evaluate cell death and real-time (RT-)PCR to determine the gene expression of aggrecan, collagen 2, and link protein, mediators of matrix degradation ADAMTS-4 and MMP3, the matrix protection molecule TIMP1, the cluster of differentiation (CD)44 receptor, the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 and Ank. We then determined the expression of specific apoptotic pathways in bovine NP cells by characterizing the expression of activated caspases-3, -8 and -9 in the presence of IL-1ß+FasL when cultured with NCCM, conditioned medium obtained using bovine NP cells (BCCM), and basal medium all supplemented with 2% FBS.NCCM inhibits bovine NP cell death and apoptosis via suppression of activated caspase-9 and caspase-3/7. Furthermore, NCCM protects NP cells from the degradative effects of IL-1ß and IL-1ß+Fas-L by up-regulating the expression of anabolic/matrix protective genes (aggrecan, collagen type 2, CD44, link protein and TIMP-1) and down-regulating matrix degrading genes such as MMP-3. Expression of ADAMTS-4, which encodes a protein for aggrecan remodeling, is increased. NCCM also protects against IL-1+FasL-mediated down-regulation of Ank expression. Furthermore, NP cells treated with NCCM in the presence of IL-1ß+Fas-L down-regulate the expression of IL-6 by almost 50%. BCCM does not mediate cell death/apoptosis in target bovine NP cells.Notochordal cell-secreted factors suppress NP cell death by inhibition of activated caspase-9 and -3/7 activity and by up-regulating genes contributing anabolic activity and matrix protection of the IVD NP. Harnessing the restorative powers of the notochordal cell could lead to novel cellular and molecular strategies in the treatment of DDD.
Project description:Background: Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a primary contributor to low back pain, a leading cause of disability. Progression of DDD is aided by inflammatory cytokines in the intervertebral disc (IVD), particularly TNF-α and IL-1β, but current treatments fail to effectively target this mechanism. The objective of this study was to explore the feasibility of CRISPR epigenome editing based therapy for DDD, by modulation of TNFR1/IL1R1 signaling in pathological human IVD cells. Methods: Human IVD cells from the nucleus pulposus of patients receiving surgery for back pain were obtained and the regulation of TNFR1/IL1R1 signaling by a lentiviral CRISPR epigenome editing system was tested. These cells were tested for successful lentiviral transduction/expression of dCas9-KRAB system and regulation of TNFR1/IL1R1 expression. TNFR1/IL1R1 signaling disruption was investigated via measurement of NF-κB activity, apoptosis, and anabolic/catabolic changes in gene expression post inflammatory challenge. Results: CRISPR epigenome editing systems were effectively introduced into pathological human IVD cells and significantly downregulated TNFR1 and IL1R1. This downregulation significantly attenuated deleterious TNFR1 signaling but not IL1R1 signaling. This is attributed to less robust IL1R1 expression downregulation, and IL-1β driven reversal of IL1R1 expression downregulation in a portion of patient IVD cells. Additionally, RNAseq data indicated a novel transcription factor targets, IRF1 and TFAP2C, as being a primary regulators of inflammatory signaling in IVD cells. Discussion: These results demonstrate the feasibility of CRISPR epigenome editing of inflammatory receptors in pathological IVD cells, but highlight a limitation in epigenome targeting of IL1R1. This method has potential application as a novel gene therapy for DDD, to attenuate the deleterious effect of inflammatory cytokines present in the degenerative IVD. Overall design: Patient nucleus pulposus cells (TNFR1kd and nontargeting control) were analyzed by RNA-seq with and without TNF-α treatment.
Project description:Conditioned medium derived from notochordal cell-rich nucleus pulposus tissue (NCCM) was previously shown to have a stimulatory effect on bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) individually, in mixed species in vitro cell models. The objective of the current study was to assess the stimulatory effect of NCCM on NPCs in a homologous canine in vitro model and to investigate whether combined stimulation with NCCM and addition of BMSCs provides a synergistic stimulatory effect.BMSCs and NPCs were harvested from chondrodystrophic dogs with confirmed early intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. NCCM was produced from NP tissue of nonchondrodystrophic dogs with healthy IVDs. BMSCs or NPCs alone (3×10(6) cells/mL) and NPCs+BMSCs (6×10(6) cells/mL; mixed 1:1) were cultured for 4 weeks in 1.2% alginate beads under base medium (BM), NCCM, or with addition of 10?ng/mL transforming growth factor-?1 (TGF-?1) as a positive control. Beads were assessed for glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and DNA contents by biochemical assays, GAG deposition by Alcian blue staining, and gene expression (aggrecan, versican, collagen 1 and 2, SOX9, A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 5 (ADAMTS5), and matrix metalloproteinase 13 [MMP13]) with real-time quantitative RT-PCR.NCCM increased NPC proliferation, proteoglycan production, and expression of genes associated with a healthy NP-like phenotype. BMSCs also showed increased proteoglycan production under NCCM, but these effects were not observed at the gene level. Combined stimulation of NPCs with NCCM and coculturing with BMSCs did not result in increased proteoglycan content compared to stimulation with NCCM alone.NCCM stimulates matrix production by both NPCs and BMSCs and directs NPCs toward a healthier phenotype. NCCM is therefore promising for IVD regeneration and identification of the bioactive components will be helpful to further develop this approach. In the current study, no synergistic effect of adding BMSCs was observed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chronic low back pain can be associated with the pathological ingrowth of blood vessels and nerves into intervertebral discs (IVDs). The notochord patterns the IVD during development and is a source of anti-angiogenic soluble factors such as Noggin and Chondroitin sulfate (CS). These factors may form the basis for a new minimally invasive strategy to target angiogenesis in the IVD. OBJECTIVE:To examine the anti-angiogenic potential of soluble factors from notochordal cells (NCs) and candidates Noggin and CS under healthy culture conditions and in the presence of pro-inflammatory mediators. DESIGN:NC conditioned media (NCCM) was generated from porcine NC-rich nucleus pulposus tissue. To assess the effects of NCCM, CS and Noggin on angiogenesis, cell invasion and tubular formation assays were performed using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) ± tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF? [10 ng/ml]). vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, MMP-7, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-8 mRNA levels were assessed using qRT-PCR. RESULTS:NCCM (10 & 100%), CS (10 and 100 ?g) and Noggin (10 and 100 ng) significantly decreased cell invasion of HUVECs with and without TNF?. NCCM 10% and Noggin 10 ng inhibited tubular formation with and without TNF? and CS 100 ?g inhibited tubules in Basal conditions whereas CS 10 ?g inhibited tubules with TNF?. NCCM significantly decreased VEGF-A, MMP-7 and IL-6 mRNA levels in HUVECs with and without TNF?. CS and Noggin had no effects on gene expression. CONCLUSIONS:We provide the first evidence that soluble factors from NCs can inhibit angiogenesis by suppressing VEGF signaling. Notochordal-derived ligands are a promising minimally invasive strategy targeting neurovascular ingrowth and pain in the degenerated IVD.
Project description:The tremendous cost, pain and disability associated with degenerative disc disease (DDD) makes the development of a biological agent that can mitigate the course of DDD, a critical unmet need. We have identified and reported that a single injection of a combination of recombinant human (rh) Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-?1) and Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) proteins into the injured intervertebral disc (IVD) nucleus pulposus (NP) can mediate DDD in a pre-clinical rodent model. In this study, we developed and evaluated the efficacy of a novel molecular therapy (NTG-101) containing rhTGF-?1 and rhCTGF proteins suspended in an excipient solution using in vivo models of DDD including rat-tail and chondrodystrophic (CD) canines. Needle puncture injury in CD-canine NPs resulted in loss of hydration, disc height and showed radiographic evidence of DDD like humans. However, NTG-101-injected IVDs maintained disc height and demonstrated retention of viscoelastic properties as compared to IVDs injected with phosphate buffer saline (PBS, 1X, pH?=?7.2). In addition, a single intra-discal injection of NTG-101 into the injured IVD-NPs resulted in sustained expression of healthy extra-cellular matrix (ECM) proteins (aggrecan, collagen 2A1) and reduced expression of inflammation associated proteins and molecules (IL-1?, IL-6, IL-8, MMP-13, Cox-2 and PGE2) as compared to vehicle controls. In conclusion, we demonstrated that a single intra-discal injection of the novel formulation, NTG-101 confers a robust anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic and pro-anabolic effects in pre-clinical models of DDD thereby restoring homeostasis. These findings suggest the therapeutic potential of NTG-101 for clinical use.
Project description:<h4>Background context</h4>Nonphysiological mechanical loading and inflammation are both critically involved in intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, which is characterized by an increase in cytokines and matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) in the nucleus pulposus (NP). This process is known to be mediated by the NF-κB pathway.<h4>Clinical significance</h4>Current clinical treatments for IVD degeneration focus on the alleviation of symptoms rather than targeting the underlying mechanism. Injection of an NF-κB inhibitor may attenuate the progression of IVD degeneration.<h4>Purpose</h4>To investigate the ability of the NF-κB inhibitor, NEMO binding domain peptide (NBD), to alter IVD degeneration processes by reducing IL-1β- and mechanically-induced cytokine and MMP levels in human nucleus pulposus cells in vitro, and by attenuating IVD degeneration in an in vivo rat model for disc degeneration.<h4>Study design</h4>Experimental in vitro and animal model.<h4>Patient sample</h4>Discarded specimens of lumbar disc from 21 patients, and 12 Sprague Dawley rats.<h4>Outcome measures</h4>Gene and protein expression, cell viability, µMRI and histology.<h4>Methods</h4>IL-1β-prestimulated human nucleus pulposus cells embedded into fibrin constructs were loaded in the Flexcell FX-5000 compression system at 5 kPa and 1 Hz for 48 hours in the presence and absence of NBD. Unloaded hNPC/fibrin constructs served as controls. Cell viability in loaded and unloaded constructs was quantified, and gene and protein expression levels determined. For in vivo testing, a rat needle disc puncture model was employed. Experimental groups included injured discs with and without NBD injection and uninjured controls. Levels of disc degeneration were determined via µMRI, qPCR and histology. Funding sources include $48,874 NASS Young Investigator Research Grant and $119,174 NIH 5K01AR071512-02. There were no applicable financial relationships or conflicts of interest.<h4>Results</h4>Mechanical compression of hNPC/fibrin constructs resulted in upregulation of MMP-3 and IL-8. Supplementation of media with 10 μM NBD during loading increased cell viability, and decreased MMP-3 gene and protein levels. IVD injury in rat resulted in an increase in MMP-3, IL-1β and IL-6 gene expression. Injections of 250 µg of NBD during disc injury resulted in decreased IL-6 gene expression. µMRI analysis demonstrated a reduction of disc hydration in response to disc needle injury, which was attenuated in NBD-treated IVDs. Histological evaluation showed NP and AF lesion in injured discs, which was attenuated by NBD injection.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The results of this study show NBD peptide's capacity to reduce IL-1β- and loading-induced MMP-3 levels in hNPC/fibrin constructs while increasing the cells' viability, and to attenuate IVD degeneration in rat, involving downregulation of IL-6. Therefore, NBD may be a potential therapeutic agent to treat IVD degeneration.
Project description:Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is characterized by decreased cellularity and proteoglycan synthesis and increased inflammation, catabolism, and neural/vascular ingrowth. Regenerative methods for IVD degeneration are largely cell-therapy-based or involve viral vectors, which are associated with mutagenesis and undesired immune responses. The present study used bulk electroporation and engineered extracellular vesicles (EVs) to deliver forkhead-box F1 (FOXF1) mRNA to degenerate human nucleus pulposus (NP) cells as a minimally invasive therapeutic strategy for IVD regeneration. Bulk electroporation was used to investigate FOXF1 effects on human NP cells during a 4-week culture in 3D agarose constructs. Engineered EV delivery of FOXF1 into human IVD cells in monolayer was determined, with subsequent in vivo validation in a pilot mouse IVD puncture model. FOXF1 transfection significantly altered gene expression by upregulating healthy NP markers [FOXF1, keratin 19 (KRT19)], decreasing inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1β, -6], catabolic enzymes [metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13)] and nerve growth factor (NGF), with significant increases in glycosaminoglycan accumulation in human NP cells. Engineered EVs loaded with FOXF1 demonstrated successful encapsulation of FOXF1 cargo and effective uptake by human NP cells cultured in monolayer. Injection of FOXF1-loaded EVs into the mouse IVD in vivo resulted in a significant upregulation of FOXF1 and Brachyury, compared to controls at 7 d post-injection, with no evidence of cytotoxicity. This is the first study to demonstrate non-viral delivery of FOXF1 and reprogramming of human NP cells in vitro and mouse IVD cells in vivo. This strategy represents a non-addictive approach for treating IVD degeneration and associated back pain.
Project description:PURPOSE: Disc degeneration, and associated low back pain, are a primary cause of disability. Disc degeneration is characterized by dysfunctional cells and loss of proteoglycans: since intervertebral tissue has a limited capacity to regenerate, this process is at present considered irreversible. Recently, cell therapy has been suggested to provide more successful treatment of IVD degeneration. To understand the potential of cells to restore IVD structure/function, tissue samples from degenerated IVD versus healthy discs have been compared. METHODS: Discal tissue from 27 patients (40.17 ± 11 years) undergoing surgery for degenerative disc disease (DDD), DDD + herniation and congenital scoliosis, as controls, was investigated. Cells and matrix in the nucleus pulposus (NP) and annulus fibrosus (AF) were characterized by histology. AF- and NP-derived cells were isolated, expanded and characterized for senescence and gene expression. Three-dimensional NP pellets were cultured and stained for glycosaminoglycan formation. RESULTS: Phenotypical markers of degeneration, such as cell clusters, chondrons, and collagen disorganization were seen in the degenerate samples. In severe degeneration, granulation tissue and peripheral vascularization were observed. No correlation was found between the Pfirrmann clinical score and the extent of degeneration. CONCLUSION: The tissue disorganization in degenerate discs and the paucity of cells out of cluster/chondron association, make the IVD-derived cells an unreliable option for disc regeneration.
Project description:Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is associated with spinal pain often leading to long-term disability. However, the non-chondrodystrophic canine intervertebral disc is protected from the development of DDD, ostensibly due to its retention of notochordal cells (NC) in the nucleus pulposus (NP). In this study, we hypothesized that secretome analysis of the NC-rich NP will lead to the identification of key proteins that delay the onset of DDD. Using mass-spectrometry, we identified 303 proteins including components of TGF?- and Wnt-signaling, anti-angiogeneic factors and proteins that inhibit axonal ingrowth in the bioactive fractions of serum free, notochordal cell derived conditioned medium (NCCM). Ingenuity Pathway Analysis revealed TGF?1 and CTGF as major hubs in protein interaction networks. In vitro treatment with TGF?1 and CTGF promoted the synthesis of healthy extra-cellular matrix proteins, increased cell proliferation and reduced cell death in human degenerative disc NP cells. A single intra-discal injection of recombinant TGF?1 and CTGF proteins in a pre-clinical rat-tail disc injury model restored the NC and stem cell rich NP. In conclusion, we demonstrate the potential of TGF?1 and CTGF to mitigate the progression of disc degeneration and the potential use of these molecules in a molecular therapy to treat the degenerative disc.
Project description:Overactivated inflammation and catabolism induced by proinflammatory macrophages are involved in the pathological processes of intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration (IVDD). Our previous study suggested the protective role of inhibiting heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) in IVDD, while the underlying mechanisms need advanced research. The current study investigated the effects of HSP90 inhibitor 17-AAG on nucleus pulposus (NP) inflammation and catabolism induced by M1-polarized macrophages. Immunohistochemical staining of degenerated human IVD samples showed massive infiltration of macrophages, especially M1 phenotype, as well as elevated levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)13. The conditioned medium (CM) of inflamed NP cells (NPCs) enhanced M1 polarization of macrophages, while the CM of M1 macrophages but not M2 macrophages promoted the expression of inflammatory factors and matrix proteases in NPCs. Additionally, we found that 17-AAG could represent anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic effects by modulating both macrophages and NPCs. On the one hand, 17-AAG attenuated the pro-inflammatory activity of M1 macrophages via inhibiting nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. On the other hand, 17-AAG dampened M1-CM-induced inflammation and catabolism in NPCs by upregulating HSP70 and suppressing the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2)-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway. Moreover, both <i>in vitro</i> IVD culture models and murine disc puncture models supported that 17-AAG treatment decreased the levels of inflammatory factors and matrix proteases in IVD tissues. In conclusion, HSP90 inhibitor 17-AAG attenuates NP inflammation and catabolism induced by M1 macrophages, suggesting 17-AAG as a promising candidate for IVDD treatment.