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Papers of the Week

2020 Aug 21

Cells Tissues Organs

Human Levels of MMP-1 in Degenerated Disks Can Be Mitigated by Signaling Peptides from Mesenchymal Stem Cells.


Hingert D, Nawilaijaroen P, Ekström K, Baranto A, Brisby H
Cells Tissues Organs. 2020 Aug 21:1-10.
PMID: 32829335.


Degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) in intervertebral disks (IVDs) during IVD degeneration plays a vital role in low back pain (LBP). In healthy IVDs, synthesis and degradation of ECM are kept in balance by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of MMPs. MMPs are enzymes responsible for ECM degradation, and their expression levels are known to increase in degenerated disks. However, the exact pathophysiological concentration of MMP-1 in the degenerated disks of patients with chronic LBP has not been reported previously. Factors secreted by human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have shown positive results in cell therapy of degenerated disks. The aim of this study was to investigate the pathophysiological MMP-1 concentration (in ng/mL) in degenerated disk tissue and to evaluate if conditioned media (CM) from hMSCs could mitigate the effects of MMP-1 at the detected levels in a 3D in vitro disk cell (DC) pellet model. Tissue levels of MMP-1 were quantified in disk tissue collected from 6 chronic LBP patients undergoing surgery. DC pellet cultures were performed to investigate the effects of MMP-1 alone and the effects of conditioned media (CM) in the presence of MMP-1. MMP-1 was introduced in the pellets on day 14 at concentrations of 5, 50, or 100 ng/mL. The pellets were harvested on day 28 and evaluated for cell viability, proliferation, and ECM production. The mean concentration of MMP-1 in disk tissue was 151 ng/mL. Results from pellet cultures demonstrated a higher number of viable cells, glycosaminoglycan production, and ECM accumulation in the CM group even in the presence of MMP-1 compared to the controls. However, the level decreased with increasing MMP-1 concentration. The results demonstrated that CM has the ability to mitigate matrix degradation property of MMP-1 up to 50 ng/mL suggesting that CM could potentially be used to treat early stages of disk degeneration.