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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Sep 2022 - 16 Sep 2022

2022 Sep 04

Int J Mol Sci



Microfluidic Electroceuticals Platform for Therapeutic Strategies of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: Effects of Electrical Stimulation on Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells under Inflammatory Conditions.


The degeneration of an intervertebral disc (IVD) is a major cause of lower back pain. IVD degeneration is characterized by the abnormal expression of inflammatory cytokines and matrix degradation enzymes secreted by IVD cells. In addition, macrophage-mediated inflammation is strongly associated with IVD degeneration. However, the precise pathomechanisms of macrophage-mediated inflammation in IVD are still unknown. In this study, we developed a microfluidic platform integrated with an electrical stimulation (ES) array to investigate macrophage-mediated inflammation in human nucleus pulposus (NP). This platform provides multiple cocultures of different cell types with ES. We observed macrophage-mediated inflammation and considerable migration properties via upregulated expression of interleukin (IL)-6 ( < 0.001), IL-8 ( < 0.05), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 ( < 0.05), and MMP-3 ( < 0.05) in human NP cells cocultured with macrophages. We also confirmed the inhibitory effects of ES at 10 μA due to the production of IL-6 ( < 0.05) and IL-8 ( < 0.01) under these conditions. Our findings indicate that ES positively affects degenerative inflammation in diverse diseases. Accordingly, the microfluidic electroceutical platform can serve as a degenerative IVD inflammation in vitro model and provide a therapeutic strategy for electroceuticals.