Blood vessel and neurite ingrowth into the degenerating intervertebral disc (IVD) are related to pain. In reported studies, notochordal cell (NC)-conditioned medium (NCCM) induced a regenerative response of nucleus pulposus (NP) cells, but also inhibition of neurite and vessel formation. NC matrix (NCM) derived from NC-rich NP tissue, induced even stronger anabolic effects than NCCM. Thus, the aim was to investigate whether NCM has similar anti-neurogenic and -angiogenic properties as NCCM. NCM and NCCM where produced from porcine NC-rich NP tissue. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were cultured in base medium (BM, 300 mOsm), NCCM (produced at 300 and 400 mOsm), NCM, or with chondroitin sulfate (CS, positive control) in angiogenesis-inducing medium, after which vessel length was measured. Although CS alone inhibited vessel growth, NCCM (both osmolarities) stimulated vessel formation by HUVECs. NCM did not affect vessel growth relative to BM. SH-SY5Y cells were cultured in BM, NCCM, and NCM on poly-D-lysine coated and polystyrene surfaces, and analyzed for neurite length and percentage of neurite expressing cells. On coated surfaces, neither NCCM nor NCM affected neurite growth. On a polystyrene surface, NCCM and NCM induced a higher number of neurite-expressing cells. NCCM’s previously reported anti-angiogenic and -neurogenic effects were not observed in this study. Although addition of CS inhibited HUVEC vessel formation, other factors may be present in NCCM and NCM that affect neurite and vessel growth. Therefore, future studies testing an NC-based regenerative strategy should carefully assess the risk of such adverse effects in an in vivo setting.
Full Access Link: Journal of Orthopaedic Research