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Articles, Shoulder Pain

Degenerative disc disease, affecting one or more intervertebral discs, is often accompanied my severe neck (cervical) or lower back (lumbar) pain or sciatica. The degenerative disease has a high prevalence and represents a major public health problem with high socio-economic impact. Once degeneration starts, it is difficult to reverse, and there is no effective treatment for early disc degeneration. The intervertebral disc is a cartilaginous structure, with the nucleus pulposus (NP) as the core structure containing a gel-like, shock absorbing extracellular matrix (ECM).
The degeneration of the integrity of this gel-like ECM and dehydration in the nucleus pulposus causes pressure on the spinal nerves, which leads to pain and possibly affects nerve function. Stem cell transplantation therapy shows good treatment prospects. It promotes the formation of new ECM in the NP, repairs the degenerated disc structures, and rebuilds its function by supplementing the reduced numbers of NP cells caused by the internal disc degeneration.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a class of somatic stem cells with a high degree of self-renewal and pluripotency. They can be directionally differentiated into osteoblasts, adipocytes, NP-like cells, muscle and other cells under the appropriate induction conditions. TGF-β1 is a well-studied cytokine that inhibits the proliferation of most cells, while stimulating the proliferation of bone marrow mesenchymal cells and the production of ECM. KLD-12 polypeptides belong to a class of molecules with self-assembling properties that are biocompatible and may serve as scaffold material for tissue engineering [9-11]. The present study was designed to induce differentiation of purified MSCs into NP-like cells using a 3D-culture consisting of a KLD-12 polypeptide/TGF-β1 nanofiber gel scaffold. These studies are the foundation for the tissue engineering of KLD-12 polypeptide/TGF-β1/MSCs scaffolds to be implanted in intervertebrate discs for the treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration and for the filling of residual cavities after early surgical procedures.

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