Tissue Eng Regen Med.  2021 Feb;18(1):49-60. 10.1007/s13770-020-00305-0.

Mechanical Stimulation and Diameter of Fiber Scaffolds Affect the Differentiation of Rabbit Annulus Fibrous Stem Cells

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Orthopedics, First Affiliated Hospital, Bengbu Medical College, Bengbu 233004, China
  • 2Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Tissue Transplantation, Bengbu Medical College, Bengbu 233030, China
  • 3School of Life Sciences, Bengbu Medical College, Bengbu 233030, China
  • 4Department of Plastic Surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Bengbu Medical College, Bengbu 233004, China

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Degeneration of the annulus fibrosus (AF), an important structure of the intervertebral disc, is one of the main causes of degenerative disc disease. Fabrication of scaffolds replicating the stratified microstructure of the AF is critical for the successful regeneration of AF.
METHODS
In this study, we cultured rabbit AF-derived stem cells (AFSCs) using fabricated electrospun fibrous poly-Llactic acid scaffolds with different diameters. We applied cyclic tensile strain (CTS) on the scaffolds to regulate the differentiation of AFSCs into specific cell types that resided at the inner, middle, and outer zones of the AF.
RESULTS
We found that the morphologies of AFSCs on the smaller-fiber-diameter scaffolds were nearly round, whereas spindle-like cells morphologies were observed on large-diameter scaffolds. CTS enhanced these phenomena and made the cells slender. The expression levels of collagen-I in cells increased as a function of the fiber diameter, whereas collagen-II and aggrecan exhibited opposite trends. Moreover, the application of CTS upregulated the gene expressions of collagen-I, collagen-II, and aggrecan.
CONCLUSION
Overlaying the scaffolds with different CTS-stimulated cells could eventually lead to engineered AF tissues with hierarchical structures that approximated the native AF tissue. Thus, the proposed methodologies could be potentially applied for AF regeneration.

Keyword

Intervertebral disc degeneration; Cyclic tensile strain; Poly-L-lactic acid scaffold; Annulus fibrosus-derived stem cells; Differentiation
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