eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2019   Volume No 37 – pages 134-152

Title: In vitro co-culture and ex vivo organ culture assessment of primed and cryopreserved stromal cell microcapsules for intervertebral disc regeneration

Authors: SM Naqvi, J Gansau, D Gibbons, CT Buckley

Address: Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

E-mail: conor.buckley at

Abstract: Priming towards a discogenic phenotype and subsequent cryopreservation of microencapsulated bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) may offer an attractive therapeutic approach for disc repair. It potentially obviates the need for in vivo administration of exogenous growth factors, otherwise required to promote matrix synthesis, in addition to providing 'off-the-shelf' availability. Cryopreserved and primed BMSC microcapsules were evaluated in an in vitro surrogate co-culture model system with nucleus pulposus (NP) cells under intervertebral disc (IVD)-like culture conditions and in an ex vivo bovine organ culture disc model.
    BMSCs were microencapsulated in alginate microcapsules and primed for 14 d with transforming growth factor beta-3 (TGF-β3) under low oxygen conditions prior to cryopreservation. For the in vitro phase, BMSC microcapsules (unprimed or primed) were cultured for 28 d in a surrogate co-culture model system mimicking that of the IVD. For the ex vivo phase, microcapsules (unprimed or primed) were injected into the NP of bovine discs that underwent nucleotomy.
    In vitro results revealed that although NP cells produced significantly more matrix components in co-culture with BMSC microcapsules regardless of the differentiation state, unprimed microcapsules were inadequate at synthesising matrix as compared to primed microcapsules. However, this difference was diminished when evaluated in the ex vivo organ culture model,withboth unprimed and primed BMSC microcapsules accumulating large amounts of sulphated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) and collagen and filling the defect cavity. Both models demonstrated that cryopreservation of BMSC microcapsules may offer a feasible strategy for predesigned delivery through cryobanking for on-demand regeneration of the IVD.

Key Words: Degeneration, intervertebral disc, nucleus pulposus, mesenchymal stromal cells, bone marrow, in vitro, ex vivo, model system, priming, cryopreservation.

Publication date: February 15th 2019

Article download: Pages 134-152 (PDF file)

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