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Herniated disc (HD), one of the major causes of low back pain, is often resolved spontaneously without surgical intervention. Resorption is associated with a marked increase in infiltrating macrophages, and the matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) MMP-3 and MMP-7 have been implicated in this phenomenon. We developed a murine organ culture model in which intact intervertebral discs were cocultured with peritoneal macrophages to investigate the role of MMPs in HD resorption. Using macrophages isolated from MMP-null mice, we report that macrophage-produced MMP-7 was required for proteoglycan degradation, loss of wet weight, and macrophage infiltration of cocultured discs. The inability of MMP-7-deficient macrophages to infiltrate discs could not be attributed to a defect in macrophage migration. MMP-7 was required for the release of the cytokine TNF-alpha from peritoneal macrophages. The generation of soluble TNF-alpha was essential for the induction of MMP-3 in disc cocultures, which in turn is required for the generation of a macrophage chemoattractant and subsequent macrophage infiltration. TNF-alpha release from macrophages was necessary but insufficient for disc resorption, which required macrophage infiltration. We conclude that there is extensive communication between macrophages and chondrocytes in HD resorption and that an essential component of this communication is the requirement for MMPs to release soluble bioactive factors.
Herniated disc (HD) is a common health problem that is resolved by surgery unless spontaneous resorption occurs. HD tissue contains abundant macrophage infiltration and high levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) MMP-3 and MMP-7. We developed a model system in which disc tissue or isolated chondrocytes from wild-type or MMP-null mice were cocultured with peritoneal macrophages and used this system to investigate the role of MMPs and chondrocyte/macrophage interactions in disc resorption. We observed a marked enhancement of MMP-3 protein and mRNA in chondrocytes after exposure to macrophages. Chondrocytic MMP-3, but not MMP-7, was required for disc resorption, as determined by assaying for a reduction in wet weight and proteoglycan content after 3 days of coculture. Surprisingly, chondrocyte MMP-3 was required for the generation of a macrophage chemoattractant and the subsequent infiltration of the disc tissue by proteolytically active macrophages. We conclude that macrophage induction of chondrocyte MMP-3 plays a major role in disc resorption by mechanisms that include the generation of a bioactive macrophage chemoattractant.
Over a thousand combinations of polyanions and polycations were tested to search for new polymer candidates that would be suitable for encapsulation of living cells. The combination of sodium alginate, cellulose sulfate, poly (methylene-co-guanidine) hydrochloride, calcium chloride, and sodium chloride was most promising. In parallel, a novel multiloop chamber reactor was developed to control the time of complex formation and to negate gravitational effects such as pancreatic islet sedimentation and droplet deformation during the encapsulation process. Encapsulated rat islets demonstrated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in vitro, and reversed diabetes in mice. This new capsule formulation and encapsulation system allows independent adjustments of capsule size, wall thickness, mechanical strength, and permeability, which may offer distinct advantages for immunoisolating cells.
Primary cultured adult rat urothelial (RU) cells caused increased thymidine incorporation in rat bladder stromal (RS) cells in a coculture system. The concentrated conditioned medium derived from RU cell culture (CM-RU) also stimulated the growth of RS cells, and induced anchorage independent growth of NRK-49F cells. Since these activities were heat and acid resistant, we investigated whether epidermal growth factor (EGF) and/or transforming growth factors were the humoral factor(s) responsible. The immunodiffusion analysis of CM-RU gave a positive precipitin line with rabbit anti-rat EGF IgG but not with rabbit anti-rat transforming growth factor-alpha antibodies. The anti-rat EGF IgG inhibited CM-RU-stimulated thymidine incorporation into RS cells, whereas normal rabbit IgG did not. By immunofluorescent technique using rabbit anti-rat EGF antibodies, immunoreactive EGF was demonstrated in RU cells and the urothelial of cryoinjury-induced reparative hyperplasia. Immunofluorescent technique also demonstrated the presence of EGF receptors on the cell membrane of RU and RS cells, basal cells of normal rat urothelium, and cells of whole epithelial layers of reparative hyperplasia. These data strongly suggest that EGF or an EGF-like substance produced by RU cells and released into medium stimulates the growth of RS cells possibly mediated by EGF receptors.