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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Dec 2023 - 5 Jan 2024


Cell Transplant



Preclinical Animal Study and Pilot Clinical Trial of Using Enriched Peripheral Blood-Derived Mononuclear Cells for Intervertebral Disc Degeneration.


Chung YH, Hu MH, Kao SC, Kao YH, Wang FH, Hsieh CY, Shen CI, Chuang CH, Chen DW, Kuo CC, Su HL, Lin CL


Low back pain (LBP) is a leading cause of long-term disability globally. Intervertebral disk degeneration (IVDD) is mainly responsible for discogenic pain in LBP-affected young patients. There is no effective therapy to reverse disease severity and IVDD progression. This study investigates the effect of human peripheral blood-derived mononuclear cells (PBMCs) on pain relief and life quality improvement in IVDD patients. The enriched monocytes of the PBMCs could differentiate into CD14 and CD206 double-positive M2 macrophages . Preclinical evidence in rats showed that the transplanted PBMCs exhibited anti-inflammatory and moderate tissue-repair effects on controlling IVDD progress in the rat model. The PBMCs significantly steered the aggrecan and type II collagen expressions and attenuated the pro-inflammatory cytokines in the affected disk. Based on the animal results, 36 patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) were included in clinical trials. The control group was conservative care only, and the experimental group was platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and PBMCs intradiscal injections. We first confirmed the single lumbar disk causing the discogenic pain by provocative discography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Discogenic LBP participants received one intradiscal injection of autologous PBMCs and followed for 6 months. Our clinical trial showed that patients’ LBP and disability were significantly ameliorated after the PBMCs transplantation rather than PRP. These preclinical and pilot clinical studies indicate that intradiscal injection of the enriched PBMCs might be a feasible and potential cell therapy to control pain and disability in IVDD patients.