Micro Fragmented Adipose Tissue Promotes the Matrix Synthesis Function of Nucleus Pulposus Cells and Regenerates Degenerated Intervertebral Disc in a Pig Model
Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration and consequent lower back pain is a common disease. Micro fragmented adipose tissue (MFAT) is promising for a wide range of applications in regenerative medicine. In this study, MFAT was isolated by a nonenzymatic method and co-cultured with nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) using an indirect co-culture system in vitro. A pig disc degeneration model was used to investigate the regenerative effect of MFAT on degenerated IVDs in vivo. The mRNA expression of Sox9, Acan, and Col2 in NPCs was significantly increased, while no significant increase was observed in the mRNA expression of proinflammatory cytokine genes after the NPCs were co-cultured with MFAT. Nucleus pulposus (NP)-specific markers were increased in MFAT cells after co-culture with NPCs. After injection of MFAT, the disc height, water content, extracellular matrix, and structure of the degenerated NP were significantly improved. MFAT promoted the matrix synthesis function of NPCs, and NPCs stimulated the NP-like differentiation of MFAT cells. In addition, MFAT also partly regenerated degenerated IVDs in the pig model.