Development of a bovine decellularized extracellular matrix-biomaterial for nucleus pulposus regeneration

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Painful intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is a common cause for spinal surgery. There is a clinical need to develop injectable biomaterials capable of promoting IVD regeneration, yet many available biomaterials do not mimic the native extracellular matrix (ECM) or promote matrix production. This study aimed to develop a decellularized injectable bovine ECM material that maintains structural and compositional features of native tissue and promotes nucleus pulposus (NP) cell (NPC) and mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) adaption. Injectable decellularized ECM constructs were created using 3 NP tissue decellularization methods (con.A: sodium deoxycholate, con.B: sodium deoxycholate & sodium dodecyl sulfate, con.C: sodium deoxycholate, sodium dodecyl sulfate & TritonX-100) and evaluated for protein, microstructure, and for cell adaptation in 21 day human NPC and MSC culture experiments. Con.A was most efficient at DNA depletion, preserved best collagen microstructure and content, and maintained the highest glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content. NPCs in decellularized constructs of con.A&B demonstrated newly synthesized GAG production, which was apparent from “halos” of GAG staining surrounding seeded NPCs. Con.A also promoted MSC adaption with high cell viability and ECM production. The injectable decellularized NP biomaterial that used sodium deoxycholate without additional decellularization steps maintained native NP tissue structure and composition closest to natural ECM and promoted cellular adaptation of NP cells and MSCs. This natural decellularized biomaterial warrants further investigation for its potential as an injectable cell seeded supplement to augment NP replacement biomaterials and deliver NPCs or MSCs. © 2015 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 34:876–888, 2016.

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