[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ECM of the intervertebral disc and articular cartilage contain a highly organised network of collagens and proteoglycans which resist compressive forces applied to these tissues. A pathological hallmark of the intervertebral disc is the imbalance between production of anabolic and catabolic factors by the resident cells. This process is thought to be mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines, predominantly TNF-α and IL-1β, which upregulate expression of matrix degrading enzymes such as MMPs and ADAMTSs. This imbalance ultimately results in tissue degeneration causing failure of the biomechanical function of the tissues. A similar cascade of events is thought to occur in articular cartilage during development of osteoarthritis. Within these skeletal tissues a small, cell surface heparan sulphate proteoglycan; syndecan-4 (SDC4) has been implicated in maintaining physiological functions. However in the degenerating niche of the intervertebral disc and cartilage, dysregulated activities of this molecule may exacerbate pathological changes. Studies in recent years have elucidated a role for SDC4 in mediating matrix degradation in both intervertebral discs and cartilage by controlling ADAMTS-5 function and MMP3 expression. Discourse presented in this review highlights the potential of SDC4 as possible therapeutic target in slowing the progression of ECM degradation in both degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Matrix biology: journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the role of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in regulating HIF-1α protein stability and activity in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells. Treatment of NP cells with pan-HDAC inhibitor TSA resulted in decreased HIF-1α levels under both normoxia and hypoxia in a dose-dependent fashion. TSA-mediated HIF-1α degradation was rescued by concomitant inhibition of not only the 26S proteasome but also PHD2 function. Moreover, TSA treatment of PHD2(-/-) cells had little effect on HIF-1α levels, supporting the notion that inhibition of PHD2 function by HDACs contributed to HIF-1α stabilization. Surprisingly, class-specific HDAC-inhibitors did not affect HIF-1α protein stability, indicating that multiple HDACs controlled HIF-1α stability by regulating HIF-1α-PHD2 interaction in NP cells. Interestingly, lower-dose TSA that did not affect HIF-1α stability decreased its activity and target gene expression. Likewise, rescue of TSA-mediated HIF-1α protein degradation by blocking proteasomal or PHD activity did not restore HIF-1 activity, suggesting that HDACs independently regulate HIF-1α stability and activity. Noteworthy, selective inhibition of HDAC6 and not of class I and IIa HDACs decreased HIF-1-mediated transcription under hypoxia, to a similar extent as lower-dose TSA, contrasting the reported role of HDAC6 as a transcriptional repressor in other cell types. Moreover, HDAC6 inhibition completely blocked TSA effects on HIF-1 activity. HDAC6 associated with and deacetylated HSP90, an important cofactor for HIF-1 function in NP cells, and HDAC6 inhibition decreased p300 transactivation in NP cells. Taken together, these results suggest that while multiple Class I and Class IIa HDACs control HIF-1 stability, HDAC6, a class IIb HDAC, is a novel mediator of HIF-1 activity in NP cells possibly through promoting action of critical HIF-1 cofactors. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intervertebral disc is a unique avascular organ that supports axial skeleton flexion and rotation. The high proteoglycan content of the nucleus pulposus tissue, present at the center of the disc, is pivotal for its mechanical function, distribution of compressive loads. Chronic low back pain, a prevalent and costly condition, is strongly associated with disc degeneration. Degenerated discs exhibit high levels of inflammatory cytokines, matrix catabolizing enzymes, and an overall reduction in proteoglycan content. Although the cytokine profile of diseased discs has been widely studied, little is known of what initiates and drives inflammation and subsequent low back pain. Recent studies have shown that anaerobic bacteria are present in a high percentage of painful, herniated discs and long-term treatment with antibiotics resolves symptoms associated with chronic low back pain. It is thought that these anaerobic bacteria in the disc may stimulate inflammation through toll-like receptors to further exacerbate disc degeneration. Despite the promise and novelty of this theory, there are other possible inflammatory mediators that need careful consideration. The metabolic environment associated with diabetes and atypical matrix degradation products also have the ability to activate many of the same inflammatory pathways as seen during microbial infection. It is therefore imperative that the research community must investigate the contribution of all possible drivers of inflammation to address the wide spread problem of discogenic chronic low back pain.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Discovery medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galectin-3 is highly expressed in notochordal nucleus pulposus (NP) and thought to play important physiological roles; however, regulation of its expression remains largely unexplored. The aim of the study was to investigate if TGFβ regulates Galectin-3 expression in NP cells. TGFβ treatment resulted in decreased galectin-3 expression. Bioinformatic analysis using JASPAR and MatInspector databases cross-referenced with published ChIP-Seq data showed nine locations of highly probable Smad3 binding in the LGALS3 proximal promoter. In NP cells, TGFβ treatment resulted in decreased activity of reporters harboring several 5' deletions of the proximal Galectin-3 promoter. While transfection of NP cells with constitutively active (CA)-ALK5 resulted in decreased promoter activity, DN-ALK5 blocked the suppressive effect of TGFβ on the promoter. The suppressive effect of Smad3 on the Galectin-3 promoter was confirmed using gain- and loss-of-function studies. Transfection with DN-Smad3 or Smad7 blocked TGFβ mediated suppression of promoter activity. We also measured Galectin-3 promoter activity in Smad3 null and wild type cells. Noteworthy, promoter activity was suppressed by TGFβ only in wild type cells. Likewise, stable silencing of Smad3 in NP cells using sh-Smad3 significantly blocked TGFβ-dependent decrease in Galectin-3 expression. Treatment of human NP cells isolated from tissues with different grades of degeneration showed that Galectin-3 expression was responsive to TGF-β-mediated suppression. Importantly, Galectin-3 synergized effects of TNF-α on inflammatory gene expression by NP cells. Together these studies suggest that TGFβ, through Smad3 controls Galectin-3 expression in NP cells and may have implications in the intervertebral disc degeneration.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Matrix biology: journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intervertebral disc is an important mechanical structure that allows range of motion of the spinal column. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc - incited by aging, traumatic insult, genetic predisposition, or other factors - is often defined by functional and structural changes in the tissue, including excessive breakdown of the extracellular matrix, increased disc cell senescence and death, as well as compromised biomechanical function of the tissue. Intervertebral disc degeneration is strongly correlated with low back pain, which is a highly prevalent and costly condition, significantly contributing to loss in productivity and health care costs. Disc degeneration is a chronic, progressive condition, and current therapies are limited and often focused on symptomatic pain relief rather than curtailing the progression of the disease. Inflammatory processes exacerbated by cytokines tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) are believed to be key mediators of disc degeneration and low back pain. In this review, we describe the contributions of TNF-α and IL-1β to changes seen during disc degeneration at both cellular and tissue level, as well as new evidence suggesting a link between infection of the spine and low back pain, and the emerging therapeutic modalities aimed at combating these processes.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · European cells & materials
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previously, it has been shown that pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) tumors exhibit high levels of hypoxia, characterized by low oxygen pressure (pO2) and decreased O2 intracellular perfusion. Chronic hypoxia is strongly associated with resistance to cytotoxic chemotherapy and chemoradiation in an understudied phenomenon known as hypoxia-induced chemoresistance. The hypoxia-inducible, pro-oncogenic, serine-threonine kinase PIM1 (Proviral Integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus 1) has emerged as a key regulator of hypoxia-induced chemoresistance in PDA and other cancers. Although its role in therapeutic resistance has been described previously, the molecular mechanism behind PIM1 overexpression in PDA is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that cis-acting AU-rich elements (ARE) present within a 38-base pair region of the PIM1 mRNA 3'-untranslated region mediate a regulatory interaction with the mRNA stability factor HuR (Hu antigen R) in the context of tumor hypoxia. Predominantly expressed in the nucleus in PDA cells, HuR translocates to the cytoplasm in response to hypoxic stress and stabilizes the PIM1 mRNA transcript, resulting in PIM1 protein overexpression. A reverse-phase protein array revealed that HuR-mediated regulation of PIM1 protects cells from hypoxic stress through phosphorylation and inactivation of the apoptotic effector BAD and activation of MEK1/2. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of HuR by MS-444 inhibits HuR homodimerization and its cytoplasmic translocation, abrogates hypoxia-induced PIM1 overexpression and markedly enhances PDA cell sensitivity to oxaliplatin and 5-fluorouracil under physiologic low oxygen conditions. Taken together, these results support the notion that HuR has prosurvival properties in PDA cells by enabling them with growth advantages in stressful tumor microenvironment niches. Accordingly, these studies provide evidence that therapeutic disruption of HuR's regulation of PIM1 may be a key strategy in breaking an elusive chemotherapeutic resistance mechanism acquired by PDA cells that reside in hypoxic PDA microenvironments.Oncogene advance online publication, 21 September 2015; doi:10.1038/onc.2015.325.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intervertebral disc is an important mechanical structure that allows range of motion of the spinal column. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc - incited by aging, traumatic insult, genetic predisposition, or other factors - is often defined by functional and structural changes in the tissue, including excessive breakdown of the extracellular matrix, increased disc cell senescence and death, as well as compromised biomechanical function of the tissue. Intervertebral disc degeneration is strongly correlated with low back pain, which is a highly prevalent and costly condition, significantly contributing to loss in productivity and health care costs. Disc degeneration is a chronic, progressive condition, and current therapies are limited and often focused on symptomatic pain relief rather than curtailing the progression of the disease. Inflammatory processes exacerbated by cytokines tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) are believed to be key mediators of disc degeneration and low back pain. In this review, we describe the contributions of TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta to changes seen during disc degeneration at both cellular and tissue level, as well as new evidence suggesting a link between infection of the spine and low back pain, and the emerging therapeutic modalities aimed at combating these processes.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · European cells & materials
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Laboratory Study.
To evaluate whether blockade of the Substance P (SP) receptor neurokinin receptor-1 (NK1R) attenuates its pro-inflammatory effect on human intervertebral disc cells (IVD), and to evaluate the signaling pathways associated with SP.
SP and its receptors are expressed in human IVD cells, and cause upregulation of inflammatory mediators, however the effects of blocking these receptors has not been studied in human IVD cells.
Human annulus fibrosus (AF) and nucleus pulposus (NP) cells were expanded in monolayer, and then suspended in alginate beads. The alginate beads were treated with culture medium first containing a high affinity NK1R antagonist (L-760735) at different concentrations, and then with medium containing both NK1R antagonist and SP at two concentrations. RNA was isolated and transcribed into cDNA. Quantitative RT-PCR was performed to evaluate expression of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and IL-8. Western blot analysis was performed to examine levels of the phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB p65). The cells were pretreated with specific inhibitors of p38 (SB203580), ERK1/2 (PD98059) and p65 (SM7368) and then stimulated with SP.
We detected expression of NK1R, neurokinin receptor 2 (NK2R) and neurokinin receptor 3(NK3R) in AF and NP cells. Treatment of disc cells with the NK1R antagonist was able to suppress expression of IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 in a dose-dependent manner. SP stimulation increased phosphorylation of p38-MAPK and ERK1/2, but not of NFκB p65. This indicates that p38-MAPK and ERK1/2 control SP-induced cytokine expression independently from NF-kB p65. Inhibition of p38 and ERK1/2 activation reduced SP-induced IL-6 production in human disc cells.
NK1R is responsible for the pro-inflammatory effect of SP on IVD cells and this effect can be blocked by preventing binding of SP to NK1R. This study shows for the first time that SP mediates signaling in disc cells through NK1R and that SP activates the proinflammatory p38-MAPK and ERK1/2 pathways.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives of this study were to investigate whether AQP1 and AQP5 expression is altered during intervertebral disc degeneration and if hypoxia and HIF-1 regulate their expression in NP cells. AQP expression was measured in human tissues from different degenerative grades; regulation by hypoxia and HIF-1 was studied using promoter analysis and gain- and loss-of-function experiments. We show that both AQPs are expressed in the disc and that mRNA and protein levels decline with human disease severity. Bioinformatic analyses of AQP promoters showed multiple evolutionarily conserved HREs. Surprisingly, hypoxia failed to induce promoter activity or expression of either AQP. While genomic chromatin immunoprecipitation showed limited binding of HIF-1α to conserved HREs, their mutation did not suppress promoter activities. Stable HIF-1α suppression significantly decreased mRNA and protein levels of both AQPs, but HIF-1α failed to induce AQP levels following accumulation. Together, our results demonstrate that AQP1 and AQP5 expression is sensitive to human disc degeneration and that HIF-1α uniquely maintains basal expression of both AQPs in NP cells, independent of oxemic tension and HIF-1 binding to promoter HREs. Diminished HIF-1 activity during degeneration may suppress AQP levels in NP cells, compromising their ability to respond to extracellular osmolarity changes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration and associated low back pain (LBP) remains a major burden to our society without a significant improvement in treatment strategies or patient's quality of life. While the recent cell-transplantation studies for treatment of degenerative disc disease showed promising results, to better gauge the success and functional outcomes of these therapies, it is crucial to understand if transplanted cells give rise to healthy nucleus pulposus (NP) tissue. NP cell phenotype is unique and is defined by expression of a characteristic set of markers that reflect their specialized physiology and function. This review summarizes phenotypic markers that mirror unique physiology and function of NP cells and their progenitors and should be considered to measure outcomes of cell-based therapies to treat disc degeneration.
No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Degeneration of the intervertebral disc is characterized by changes in proteoglycan status, loss of bound water molecules, decreased tissue osmotic pressure and a resulting mechanical failure of the disc. A similar spectrum of changes is evident in osteoarthritic articular cartilage. When healthy, resident cells in these skeletal tissues respond to applied mechanical loads by regulating their own osmotic state and the hydration of the extracellular matrix. The transcription factor Tonicity-Responsive Enhancer Binding Protein (TonEBP or NFAT5) is known to mediate the osmoadaptive response in these and other tissues. While the molecular basis of how osmotic loading controls matrix homeostasis is not completely understood, TonEBP regulates the expression of aggrecan and β1,3-glucoronosyltransferase in nucleus pulposus cells, in addition to targets that allow for survival under hypertonic stress. Moreover, in chondrocytes, TonEBP controls expression of several collagen subtypes and Sox9, a master regulator of aggrecan and collagen II expression. Thus, TonEBP-mediated regulation of the matrix composition allows disc cells and chondrocytes to modify the extracellular osmotic state itself. On the other hand, TonEBP in immune cells induces expression of TNF-α, ΙL-6 and MCP-1, pro-inflammatory molecules closely linked to matrix catabolism and pathogenesis of both disc degeneration and osteoarthritis, warranting investigations of this aspect of TonEBP function in skeletal cells. In summary, the TonEBP system, through its effects on extracellular matrix and osmoregulatory genes can be viewed primarily as a protective or homeostatic response to physiological loading.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low back pain is a major physical and socioeconomic problem. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc and especially that of nucleus pulposus (NP) has been linked to low back pain. In spite of much research focusing on the NP, consensus among the research community is lacking in defining the NP cell phenotype. A consensus agreement will allow easier distinguishing of NP cells from annulus fibrosus (AF) cells and endplate chondrocytes, a better gauge of therapeutic success, and a better guidance of tissue-engineering-based regenerative strategies that attempt to replace lost NP tissue. Most importantly, a clear definition will further the understanding of physiology and function of NP cells, ultimately driving development of novel cell-based therapeutic modalities. The Spine Research Interest Group at the 2014 Annual ORS Meeting in New Orleans convened with the task of compiling a working definition of the NP cell phenotype with hope that a consensus statement will propel disc research forward into the future. Based on evaluation of recent studies describing characteristic NP markers and their physiologic relevance, we make the recommendation of the following healthy NP phenotypic markers: stabilized expression of HIF-1α, GLUT-1, aggrecan/collagen II ratio > 20, Shh, Brachyury, KRT18/19, CA12, and CD24. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Orthopaedic Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Study Design. Laboratory study. Objective. To evaluate the differential gene expression of cytokines and growth factors in anterior versus posterior annulus fibrosus (AF) intervertebral disc (IVD) specimens. Summary of Background Data. Histological analysis has demonstrated regional differences in vascular and neural ingrowth in the IVD, and similar differences may exist for cytokine and growth factor expression in patients with degenerative disc disease (DDD). Regional expression of these cytokines may also be related to the pain experienced in DDD. Methods. IVD tissue was obtained from patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery for back pain with radiological evidence of disc degeneration. For a control group, the discs of patients undergoing anterior lumbar discectomy for degenerative scoliosis were obtained as well. The tissue was carefully removed and separated into anterior and posterior AF. After tissue processing, an antibody array was completed to determine expression levels of 42 cytokines and growth factors. Results. Nine discs from 7 patients with DDD and 5 discs from 2 patients with scoliosis were analyzed. In the DDD group, there were 10 cytokines and growth factors with significantly increased expression in the posterior AF versus the anterior AF ([interleukin] IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, M-CSF, MDC, tumor necrosis factor beta, EGF, IGF-1, angiogenin, leptin). In the scoliosis group, only angiogenin and PDGF-BB demonstrated increased expression in the posterior AF. No cytokines or growth factors had increased expression in the anterior AF compared with posterior AF. Conclusion. The posterior AF expresses increased levels of cytokines and growth factors compared with the anterior AF in patients with DDD. This differential expression may be important for targeting treatment of painful IVDs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intervertebral disc (IVD) is one of the largest avascular organs in vertebrates. The nucleus pulposus (NP), a highly hydrated and proteoglycan-enriched tissue, forms the inner portion of the IVD. The NP is surrounded by a multi-lamellar fibrocartilaginous structure, the annulus fibrosus (AF). This structure is covered superior and inferior side by cartilaginous endplates (CEP). The NP is a unique tissue within the IVD as it results from the differentiation of notochordal cells, whereas, AF and CEP derive from the sclerotome. The hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is expressed in NP cells but its function in NP development and homeostasis is largely unknown. We thus conditionally deleted HIF-1α in notochordal cells and investigated how loss of this transcription factor impacts NP formation and homeostasis at E15.5, birth, 1 and 4 months of age, respectively. Histological analysis, cell lineage studies, and TUNEL assay were performed. Morphologic changes of the mutant NP cells were identified as early as E15.5, followed, postnatally, by the progressive disappearance and replacement of the NP with a novel tissue that resembles fibrocartilage. Notably, lineage studies and TUNEL assay unequivocally proved that NP cells did not transdifferentiate into chondrocyte-like cells but they rather underwent massive cell death, and were completely replaced by a cell population belonging to a lineage distinct from the notochordal one. Finally, to evaluate the functional consequences of HIF-1α deletion in the NP, biomechanical testing of mutant IVD was performed. Loss of the NP in mutant mice significantly reduced the IVD biomechanical properties by decreasing its ability to absorb mechanical stress. These findings are similar to the changes usually observed during human IVD degeneration. Our study thus demonstrates that HIF-1α is essential for NP development and homeostasis, and it raises the intriguing possibility that this transcription factor could be involved in IVD degeneration in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) plays an important role in intervertebral disc degeneration, a ubiquitous condition closely linked to low back pain and disability. Elevated expression of syndecan 4, a cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan, actively controls disc matrix catabolism. However, the relationship between MMP-3 expression and syndecan 4 in the context of inflammatory disc disease has not been clearly defined. We investigated the mechanisms by which cytokines control MMP-3 expression in rat and human nucleus pulposus cells. Cytokine treatment increased MMP-3 expression and promoter activity. Stable silencing of syndecan 4 blocked cytokine-mediated MMP-3 expression; more important, syndecan 4 did not mediate its effects through NF-κB or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. However, treatment with MAPK and NF-κB inhibitors resulted in partial blocking of the inductive effect of cytokines on MMP-3 expression. Loss-of-function studies confirmed that NF-κB, p38α/β2/γ/δ, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 2, but not ERK1, contributed to cytokine-dependent induction of MMP3 promoter activity. Similarly, inhibitor treatments, lentiviral short hairpin-p65, and short hairpin-I κ B kinase β significantly decreased cytokine-dependent up-regulation in MMP-3 expression. Finally, we show that transforming growth factor-β can block the up-regulation of MMP-3 induced by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α by counteracting the NF-κB pathway and syndecan 4 expression. Taken together, our results suggest that cooperative signaling through syndecan 4 and the TNF receptor 1-MAPK-NF-κB axis is required for TNF-α-dependent expression of MMP-3 in nucleus pulposus cells. Controlling these pathways may slow the progression of intervertebral disc degeneration and matrix catabolism.
No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · American Journal Of Pathology