I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Aug 2023 - 25 Aug 2023

Basic Science

In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Aug 18

Acta Biomater


In situ forming macroporous biohybrid hydrogel for nucleus pulposus cell delivery.


Brissenden AJ, Amsden BG


Degenerative intervertebral disc disease is a common source of chronic pain and reduced quality of life in people over the age of 40. While degeneration occurs throughout the disc, it most often initiates in the nucleus pulposus (NP). Minimally invasive delivery of NP cells within hydrogels that can restore and maintain the disc height while regenerating the damaged NP tissue is a promising treatment strategy for this condition. Towards this goal, a biohybrid ABA dimethacrylate triblock copolymer was synthesized, possessing a lower critical solution temperature below 37 °C and which contained as its central block an MMP-degradable peptide flanked by poly(trimethylene carbonate) blocks bearing pendant oligoethylene glycol groups. This triblock prepolymer was used to form macroporous NP cell-laden hydrogels via redox initiated (ammonium persulfate/sodium bisulfite) crosslinking, with or without the inclusion of thiolated chondroitin sulfate. The resulting macroporous hydrogels had water and mechanical properties similar to those of human NP tissue and were mechanically resilient. The hydrogels supported NP cell attachment and growth over 28 days in hypoxic culture. In hydrogels prepared with the triblock copolymer but without the chondroitin sulfate the NP cells were distributed homogeneously throughout in clusters and deposited collagen type II and sulfated glycosaminoglycans but not collagen type I. This hydrogel formulation warrants further investigation as a cell delivery vehicle to regenerate degenerated NP tissue. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: The intervertebral disc between the vertebral bones of the spine consists of three regions: a gel-like central nucleus pulposus (NP) within the annulus fibrosis, and bony endplates. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc is a source of chronic pain in the elderly and most commonly initiates in the NP. Replacement of degenerated NP tissue with a NP cell-laden hydrogel is a promising treatment strategy. Herein we demonstrate that a crosslinkable polymer with a lower critical solution temperature below 37°C can be used to form macroporous hydrogels for this purpose. The hydrogels are capable of supporting NP cells, which deposit collagen II and sulfated glycosaminoglycans, while also possessing mechanical properties matching those of human NP tissue.