Intervertebral disc regeneration after implantation of a cell-free bioresorbable implant in a rabbit disc degeneration model
Degeneration of the intervertebral disc is the most common cause of lower back pain. Interestingly, all available treatments are limited to treat the symptoms and not the underlying biologic alterations of the disc. Freeze-dried resorbable non-woven polyglycolic acid (PGA) – hyaluronan implants were used in a degenerated disc disease (DDD) model in New Zealand white rabbits. The constructs were immersed in allogenic serum and implanted into the disc defect. Animals with discectomy only served as controls. The T2-weighted/fat suppression sequence signal intensity of the operated discs as assessed by magnet resonance imaging decreased in both groups one week after the operation compared to a healthy disc. After 12 months the implanted group showed an increase of 51% in the signal intensity compared to the 1-week results whereas the signal intensity in the sham group remained on the same level from one week to 12 months. Histological and quantitative immunohistochemical examination after 12 months indicated cell migration into the defect and showed formation of disc repair tissue. In controls, repair tissue containing type II collagen was not evident. In conclusion, the implantation of polymer-based constructs after discectomy induces tissue regeneration resulting in improvement of the disc water content.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 31, Issue 22, August 2010, Pages 5836–5841