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2020 Sep 11

J Orthop Res

Characterization of the human intervertebral disc cartilage endplate at the molecular, cell and tissue level.


Lakstins K, Arnold L, Gunsch G, Flanigan D, Khan S, Gadde N, Jones B, Agarwal G, Purmessur D
J Orthop Res. 2020 Sep 11.
PMID: 32915471.


Given the importance of the cartilage endplate in low back pain, there is a need to characterize the humancartilage endplateatthe molecular, cell and tissue level in order to inform treatment strategies whichtarget it. The goal of this study was to characterize the structure, matrix composition, and cell phenotype of the human cartilage endplate compared to adjacent tissues within the intervertebral joint: thenucleus pulposus andannulus fibrosus,andarticular cartilage. Isolated cartilage endplate, nucleus pulposus, annulus fibrosus and articular cartilage tissue and cells were evaluated for cell morphology, matrix composition, collagen structure, glycosaminoglycan content, and gene and protein expression. Thecartilage endplate containedelongated cells which mainly produce a collagen rich interterritorial matrix and proteoglycan rich territorial matrix. The cartilage endplate contained significantly less glycosaminoglycans than the nucleus pulposus tissue. Significant differences in matrix and cell markergene expression were observed between cartilage endplate and nucleus pulposusorannulus fibrosus, with greatest differences between cartilage endplate and articular cartilage. We were able to distinguishnucleus pulposus from cartilage endplatecells using collagen-10, highlighting collagen-10 as a potential cartilage endplate marker. Our findings suggest that at the cell and tissue level, thecartilage endplatedemonstrates both similarities and differences when compared with nucleus pulposus, annulus fibrosus and hyaline articular cartilage. This work highlights a unique structure, matrix composition and cell phenotype for the human cartilage endplate and can help inform regenerative strategies that target the intervertebral disc joint in chronic low back pain. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.