Nucleus pulposus tissue
Nearly, 80% of adults suffering with both neck and back pains around the world. While, the conditions are caused by the breakdown of discs, the heap bearing, donut-like structures that protect the bones of the spine and are made by a nucleus pulposus tissue.
Nucleus pulposus can degenerate with age, causing the discs to lose their shape and collapse resulting in pain, among different issues.
To fight with degenerative disc disease, researchers harnessing stem cells to restore nucleus pulposus. While, previous research shows human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) generated directly from adult cells can express markers for a wide variety of cells, including secrete NP.
Now, Washington University scientists built up a new process to generate NP-like cells from hiPSCs. While, researchers planning to create one of the soonest shaping embryonic structures, the notochord. In people, the notochord is a cartilage-like rod that transforms into the spinal column during in-vitro development.
In the three-year study process, researchers exposed the hiPSCs to a variety of different growth factors and then completely forming into, notochord cells. When they had the notochord cells, they used a similar chemical exposure process to develop those into NP-type cells. The lab followed the differentiating process using fluorescent cell imaging, which tested for the necessary markers during each step.
This multi-step process used to derive NP-type cells from the hiPSCs provides the necessary quality control as scientists seek additional uses for stem cell therapies.
Researchers say, the next step in this research, include assessing environmental cues, such as the stiffness of the culture surface, cell topography and how a cell attaches and observe their effects in transforming hiPSCs.