Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.506, No.1, 94-101, 2018
Roles of SDF-1/CXCR4 axis in cartilage endplate stem cells mediated promotion of nucleus pulposus cells proliferation
Stem cells transplantation has shown considerable promise in intervertebral disc repair and low-back pain release. Cartilage endplate stem cells (CESCs) also showed potential for nucleus pulposus (NP) regeneration in a rabbit disc degeneration model, the precise mechanism was unclear. Here we investigated the effects of CESCs on NP cells (NPCs) proliferation and the mechanism in vitro. CESCs and NPCs were isolated from surgical specimens of degenerative human lumbar disc. NPCs were co-cultured with CESCs at a 1:1 ratio or cultured in CESCs conditioned medium (CESCs-CM). NPCs proliferation was evaluated by Ki-67 staining, CCK-8 assay and cell cycle analysis. Gene expressions were detected by qRT-PCR and activation of Akt and ERK1/2 was detected by western blot. CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 was used to block SDF-1/CXCR4 axis. ERK1/2 and Akt inhibitors were used to block Akt and ERK1/2 activation. Results showed that NPCs proliferation was promoted by direct-contact co-culturing with CESCs as well as culturing in CESCs-CM. SDF-1 expression level in CESCs was significantly higher than that in NPCs, while CXCR4 was the opposite. Promotion of NPCs proliferation mediated by CESCs-CM could be partially attenuated by AMD3100. CESCs-CM activated both Akt and ERK1/2 in NPCs, while rhSDF-1 scarcely activated Akt but obviously activated ERK1/2. Akt and ERK1/2 inhibitors could partially inhibited CESCs-CM mediated promotion of NPCs proliferation and showed cumulative effect, while ERK1/2 inhibitor and AMD3100 could significantly abrogate SDF-1 mediated promotion of NPCs proliferation. Our results suggested that CESCs might promote NPCs proliferation in a paracrine pathway, which was partially mediated by SDF-1/CXCR4 axis via ERK1/2 signaling transduction pathway. (C) 2018 Published by Elsevier Inc.