BMP Antagonists - A Possible Cause for Spinal Non-Fusion?

Gantenbein, Benjamin; Guerrero, Julien; Graf, Selianne; May, Rahel Deborah; Bidgon, Sebastian; Klenke, Frank Michael; Deml, Moritz Caspar; Albers, Christoph Edgar (2020). BMP Antagonists - A Possible Cause for Spinal Non-Fusion? eCM online periodical, p. 143. Manchester: AO Foundation

Gantenbein.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution-Share Alike (CC-BY-SA).

Download (208kB) | Preview

INTRODUCTION:Spinal fusion is a procedure where the intervertebral disc (IVD) is removed and two adjacent vertebrae are forced to fuse by compression. This procedure is the most commonly applied procedure to achieve spinal stability and relief of back pain. However, non-successful fusion leads to pseudo-athrosis and ongoing pain. There is increasing evidence that supraphysiological doses of BMP2 and burst-release of this cytokine did not generate satisfying results in clinical studies. Current hypothesis was raised that IVD cells and/or tissue seem to inhibit the action of BMP2. In this overview we summarize the current evidence that BMPs might be inhibited by the secretome of human IVD cells, i.e., nucleus pulposus cells (NPC), annulus fibrosus cells (AFC) and cartilaginous endplate (CEPC) cells.

METHODS:We stimulated low-passage (2-3) human bonemarrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and femoral hip-derived osteoblasts (OBs) and co-cultured these with allogeneic IVD cells obtained from spinal surgery. We then stimulated MSCs and the OBs in monolayer and osteogenic medium, whereas IVD cells were kept in 3D alginate bead culture and separated by high density pore culture inserts (0.4 µm pore size). We quantified relative gene expression at bone-relevant genes, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and Alizarin red (ALZR) staining after 21 days. Furthermore, to test the effect of a previously investigated BMP2 analog to block the inhibitors, cells were further stimulated with 100 ng/mL BMP2 and/or L51P.

RESULTS:We found significant inhibitory effects of IVD cells onto MSCs undergoing differentiation in presence of NPC, AFC and CEPC as shown in reduced osteogenic gene expression, ALZR staining and ALP activity (N = 11 donors paired on each side). In the case of allogeneic human OBs only a trend towards inhibition could be demonstrated (N = 7 donors on each side). The addition of L51P to the coculture recovered ossification. On the side of the IVD cells BMP2 and/or L51P had a strong chondrogenic effect.

DISCUSSION & CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggested evidence for inhibition for MSCs. However, OBs did not show the same inhibitory effects but showed a trend in presence of IVD’s secretome. This warrants for animal models where the donor variance can be better controlled.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:This work was supported by a start-up grant from the Center for Applied Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine (CABMM). Further funds were received from the Swiss Society of Orthopaedics (SGOT), the clinical trials unit (CTU) of Bern University Hospital, and by a Eurospine Task Force Research grant #2019_22.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR)

UniBE Contributor:

Gantenbein, Benjamin, Guerrero, Julien Paul, May, Rahel Deborah, Klenke, Frank M., Deml, Moritz Caspar, Albers, Christoph E.


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




AO Foundation




Benjamin Gantenbein

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2020 16:14

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:40




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback