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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Dec 2023 - 5 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 02

Nat Commun




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Serglycin secreted by late-stage nucleus pulposus cells is a biomarker of intervertebral disc degeneration.


Chen F, Lei L, Chen S, Zhao Z, Huang Y, Jiang G, Guo X, Li Z, Zheng Z, Wang J


Intervertebral disc degeneration is a natural process during aging and a leading cause of lower back pain. Here, we generate a comprehensive atlas of nucleus pulposus cells using single-cell RNA-seq analysis of human nucleus pulposus tissues (three males and four females, age 41.14 ± 18.01 years). We identify fibrotic late-stage nucleus pulposus cells characterized by upregulation of serglycin expression which facilitate the local inflammatory response by promoting the infiltration of inflammatory cytokines and macrophages. Finally, we discover that daphnetin, a potential serglycin ligand, substantially mitigates the local inflammatory response by downregulating serglycin expression in an in vivo mouse model, thus alleviating intervertebral disc degeneration. Taken together, we identify late-stage nucleus pulposus cells and confirm the potential mechanism by which serglycin regulates intervertebral disc degeneration. Our findings indicate that serglycin is a latent biomarker of intervertebral disc degeneration and may contribute to development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.