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Regenerative Intervertebral Disc Endplate Based on Biomimetic Three-dimensional Scaffolds

Yuan, Dechao MS; Chen, Zhu MS; Zhou, Yuchuan BS; Xiao, Dongqin PhD; Liu, Kang MS; Xiang, Xiaocong PhD; Deng, Li MS; Dong, Hua PhD; Feng, Gang PhD, MD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001791
Basic Science

Study Design. Fabrication and characterization of a regenerative intervertebral disc (IVD) cartilaginous endplate (CEP) based on tissue culturing on biomimetic scaffolds.

Objective. To fabricate a regenerative CEP to support nutrients and metabolites exchange between IVD and the milieu interior.

Summary of Background Data. CEP is the only pathway for most cells inside IVD to obtain nutrients and to eliminate metabolites. However, CEP usually fails at the same time when IVD degenerates. Therefore, reconstruction of CEP becomes an inevitable part of IVD regeneration. In this work, a novel regenerative CEP is fabricated to support nutrients and metabolites exchange of IVD.

Methods. Three-dimensional scaffolds were fabricated by crosslinking of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, and type II collagen. Then chondrocytes were cultured on the scaffolds. The obtained tissue was then investigated by scanning electron microscope, mechanical tests, and immunohistochemistry tests. In the end, glucose and lactic acid diffusion was carried out to test its nutrients and metabolites exchanging property.

Results. Scanning electron microscopy investigations show that the 3-dimensional scaffold has microporous structure. After cell culturing, the inner structure of the obtained product becomes compact. Mechanical tests show that the obtained tissue has strong mechanical property. Immunohistochemistry tests show that the chemical compositions of the fabricated regenerative CEP are the same as its natural counterpart. Moreover, glucose and lactic acid diffuse through the regenerative CEP successfully.

Conclusion. The fabricated regenerative CEP shows features similar to its natural counterpart. As the most important function, nutrients and metabolites exchange is verified on it as well. This regenerative CEP may play an important role in overall fabrication of regenerative IVD in near future.

Level of Evidence: N/A

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*Institute of Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells, Nanchong Central Hospital, Second Clinical Institute of North Sichuan Medical University, Nanchong, Sichuan, the People's Republic of China

School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Department of Orthopedics, Zigong No.4 People's Hospital, Zigong, Sichuan, the People's Republic of China.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Hua Dong, Joseph Black Building, King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JF, UK; E-mail:, and Gang Feng, 97 Renmin South Road, Nanchong, Sichuan 637000, PR China; E-mail:

Received 12 February, 2016

Revised 15 May, 2016

Accepted 10 June, 2016

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

The Natural Science Foundation of China (81171472, 81201407), Innovation Team Project of Sichuan Provincial Education Department (13TD0030), and Major Transformation Cultivation Project of Sichuan Provincial Education Department (15CZ0021) funds were received in support of this work.

No relevant financial activities outside the submitted work.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Website (

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