Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is the leading cause of excruciating lower back pain and disability in adults worldwide. Among the current treatments for DDD, cell-based therapies such as the injection of both disc- and non-disc-derived chondrocytes have shown significant improvements in the patients’ condition. However, further advancement of these therapies is required to not only ensure a supply of healthy chondrocytes but also to promote regeneration of the defective cells in the injury site. Here, we report that the incorporation of gelatin microparticles coloaded with transforming growth factor beta 3 and matrilin 3 promoted chondrogenic differentiation of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell spheroids while preventing hypertrophy and terminal differentiation of cells. Moreover, these composite spheroids induced the release of chondrogenic cytokines that, in turn, promoted regeneration of degenerative chondrocytes in vitro. Finally, injections of these composite spheroids in a rat model of intervertebral disc disease promoted restoration of the chondrogenic properties of the cells, thereby allowing regeneration of the chondrogenic tissue in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology