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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Mar 2024 - 29 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 21

Int Immunopharmacol



Inhibition of MAGL attenuates Intervertebral Disc Degeneration by Delaying nucleus pulposus senescence through STING.


Fan C, Du J, Yu Z, Wang J, Yao L, Ji Z, He W, Deng Y, Geng D, Wu X, Mao H


Intervertebral disc degeneration (IVDD) stands as the primary cause of low back pain (LBP). A significant contributor to IVDD is nucleus pulposus cell (NPC) senescence. However, the precise mechanisms underlying NPC senescence remain unclear. Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) serves as the primary enzyme responsible for the hydrolysis of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), breaking down monoglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids. It plays a crucial role in various pathological processes, including pain, inflammation, and oxidative stress. In this study, we utilized a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced NPC senescence model and a rat acupuncture-induced IVDD model to investigate the role of MAGL in IVDD both in vitro and in vivo. Initially, our results showed that MAGL expression was increased 2.41-fold and 1.52-fold within NP tissues from IVDD patients and rats induced with acupuncture, respectively. This increase in MAGL expression was accompanied by elevated expression of p16INK4α. Following this, it was noted that the suppression of MAGL resulted in a notable decrease in the quantity of SA-β-gal-positive cells and hindered the manifestation of p16INK4α and the inflammatory factor IL-1β in NPCs. MAGL inhibition promotes type II collagen (Col-2) expression and inhibits matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13), thereby restoring the balance of extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolism both in vitro and in vivo. A significant role for STING has also been demonstrated in the regulation of NPC senescence by MAGL. The expression of the STING protein was reduced by 57% upon the inhibition of MAGL. STING activation can replicate the effects of MAGL and substantially increase LPS-induced inflammation while accelerating the senescence of NPCs. These results strongly indicate that the inhibition of MAGL can significantly suppress nucleus pulposus senescence via its interaction with STING, consequently restoring the balance of ECM metabolism. This insight provides new perspectives for potential treatments for IVDD.