Improvement of Bovine Nucleus Pulposus Cells Isolation Leads to Identification of Three Phenotypically Distinct Cell Subpopulations.

Tissue engineering. Part A

PubMedID: 25962534

Molinos M, Almeida CR, Goncalves R, Barbosa M. Improvement of Bovine Nucleus Pulposus Cells Isolation Leads to Identification of Three Phenotypically Distinct Cell Subpopulations. Tissue Eng Part A. 2015;.
OBJECTIVE
Strategies to promote intervertebral disc (IVD) regeneration have been hindered by the lack of knowledge of IVD fundamental cellular/molecular components. One of the key points to be addressed is the characterization of nucleus pulposus (NP) cell population(s). This study establishes an improved method for bovine NP (bNP) cell isolation, whose procedure is still not consensual among the literature, allowing a thorough characterization of cell (sub)populations that exist in the young NP.

METHODS
bNP was digested with distinct enzymes (collagenase-type-I, collagenase-type-II, and collagenase-type-XI) at different concentrations (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0?mg/mL), for 4 and 19?h. Cell yield, viability/apoptosis, and morphology were analyzed by flow cytometry and imaging flow cytometry. Identification of cell subpopulations within NP and its phenotype was investigated by assessing expression of CD29, CD44, CD45, CD34, CD146, and Brachyury.

RESULTS
It was found that bNP cells present a similar morphology independently of the digestive enzyme used. However, cell yield was greatly improved by Coll-XI (2?mg/mL) treatment for a short digestion period. Interestingly, three subpopulations, with different sizes and auto-fluorescence, were consistently identified by flow cytometry. And crucially, differential expression of cell markers was found among these subpopulations.

CONCLUSION
This study demonstrated that collagenase-type-XI is an efficient enzyme that is used for digesting bNP. And most importantly, three phenotypically distinct subpopulations of cells where identified within the bNP. Such knowledge is key for a better understanding of NP cell biology and its potential endogenous regenerative capacity.