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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Sep 2023 - 15 Sep 2023


Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Sep 11

Cell Prolif


Notochordal cells: A potential therapeutic option for intervertebral disc degeneration.


Li Y, Zhang H, Zhu D, Yang F, Wang Z, Wei Z, Yang Z, Jia J, Kang X


Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is a prevalent musculoskeletal degenerative disorder worldwide, and ~40% of chronic low back pain cases are associated with IDD. Although the pathogenesis of IDD remains unclear, the reduction in nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) and degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) are critical factors contributing to IDD. Notochordal cells (NCs), derived from the notochord, which rapidly degrades after birth and is eventually replaced by NPCs, play a crucial role in maintaining ECM homeostasis and preventing NPCs apoptosis. Current treatments for IDD only provide symptomatic relief, while lacking the ability to inhibit or reverse its progression. However, NCs and their secretions possess anti-inflammatory properties and promote NPCs proliferation, leading to ECM formation. Therefore, in recent years, NCs therapy targeting the underlying cause of IDD has emerged as a novel treatment strategy. This article provides a comprehensive review of the latest research progress on NCs for IDD, covering their biological characteristics, specific markers, possible mechanisms involved in IDD and therapeutic effects. It also highlights significant future directions in this field to facilitate further exploration of the pathogenesis of IDD and the development of new therapies based on NCs strategies.