Notochordal cell matrix as a bioactive lubricant for the osteoarthritic joint

S. A. H. de Vries, M. van Doeselaar, H. J. Kaper, P. K. Sharma & K. Ito

Published: 01/12/2018

Notochordal cell matrix as a bioactive lubricant for the osteoarthritic joint


Notochordal cell derived matrix (NCM) can induce regenerative effects on nucleus pulposus cells and may exert such effects on chondrocytes as well. Furthermore, when dissolved at low concentrations, NCM forms a viscous fluid with potential lubricating properties. Therefore, this study tests the feasibility of the use of NCM as a regenerative lubricant for the osteoarthritic joint. Chondrocyte-seeded alginate beads were cultured in base medium (BM), BM with NCM (NCM), or BM with TGF-β1 (TGF), as well as BM and NCM treated with IL-1β. NCM increased GAG deposition and cell proliferation (stronger than TGF), and GAG/DNA ratio and hydroxyproline content (similar to TGF). These effects were maintained in the presence of IL-1β. Moreover, NCM mitigated expression of IL-1β-induced IL-6, IL-8, ADAMTS-5 and MMP-13. Reciprocating sliding friction tests of cartilage on glass were performed to test NCM’s lubricating properties relative to hyaluronic acid (HA), and showed a dose-dependent reduction in coefficient of friction with NCM, similar to HA. NCM has anabolic and anti-inflammatory effects on chondrocytes, as well as lubricating properties. Therefore, intra-articular NCM injection may have potential as a treatment to minimize pain while restoring the affected cartilage tissue in the osteoarthritic joint.

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