Role of thymic stromal lymphopoietin in the pathogenesis of lumbar disc degeneration

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Abstract

Background:

This study aims to investigate the role of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) in the pathogenesis of lumbar disc degeneration (LDD).

Methods:

Nucleus pulposus tissues were collected from 77 LDD patients (the case group), in addition, normal tissues were extracted from 21 patients suffering from lumbar fractures (the control group). Immunohistochemistry was applied in order to detect TSLP positive expression. In accordance with varying transfection, the cells were divided into TSLP-siRNA, TSLP-siRNA + TSLPR-siRNA, control, blank, anti-TSLPR, and IgG groups. Western blotting was used in order to detect TSLP expression in tissues, and TSLP and type II collagen (COL2AL) in cell culture media were detected using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Cell viability was measured using a MTT assay. Aggrecan levels were detected using antonopulos, and cell apoptosis was determined using flow cytometry.

Results:

TSLP-positive expression was found to be significantly higher in the case group compared with the control group. LDD patients’ Pfirrmann grades and preoperative visual analogue scale (VAS) scores were associated with TSLP-positive rate. Cells transfected with TSLP-siRNA and TSLPR-siRNA plasmids exhibited lower TSLP and thymic stromal lymphopoietin receptor (TSLPR) protein expression compared with the control and blank groups. Compared with the control and blank groups, there was significantly higher cell viability, lower cell apoptosis, and higher COL2AL and Aggrecan levels in the TSLP-siRNA, anti-TSLPR, and TSLP-siRNA+TSLPR-siRNA groups; there were significant differences between the TSLP-siRNA, anti-TSLPR, and TSLP-siRNA+TSLPR-siRNA groups and IgG group (all P < .05)

Conclusion:

Our study provides evidence for the hypothesis that TSLP could reflect the histological severity of LDD, and TSLP-siRNA and, TSLPR-siRNA could inhibit apoptosis of nucleus pulposus cells. The evident information obtained from the investigation could lead the way for new therapeutic approaches regarding LDD treatment.

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