Intervertebral Disc Repair using Fleece-Membrane Composite Silk Material and Genipin-enhanced Fibrin Hydrogel

Frauchiger, Daniela Angelika; Chan, Samantha CW; Roth, Eva; Gantenbein, Benjamin (2015). Intervertebral Disc Repair using Fleece-Membrane Composite Silk Material and Genipin-enhanced Fibrin Hydrogel (Unpublished). In: DKF Research Conference. Bern. 04.11.2015.

Introduction: Treating low back pain (LBP) has become an increasing challenge, as it is one of the main factors causing pain and is accompanied by high costs for the individual and the society. LBP can be caused by trauma of the intervertebral disc (IVD) or IVD degeneration. In the case of disc herniation the inner gelatinous part of the IVD, called nucleus pulposus, is pressed through the fibrous, annulus fibrosus that forms the outer part of the IVD. Today’s gold standard for treatment is extensive surgery as removal of the IVD and fusion of the vertebrae. In order to find a more gentle way to treat LBP and restore the native IVD we use a novel silk fleece-membrane composite from genetically modified silk worms whose silk contains a growth factor (GDF-6) that is associated with pushing stem cells towards a disc like phenotype (1). By combining it with a genipin-enhanced fibrin hydrogel we tested its suitability in organ culture on prior injured bovine IVD in our custom built two-degree of freedom bioreactor to mimic natural loading conditions.
Material & Methods: Bovine IVDs of 12-17 months old animals were isolated by first removing all surrounding tissue followed by cutting out the IVDs as previously described (2). Culturing of discs occurred in high glucose Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (HG-DMEM) supplemented with 5% serum as previously described (2). On the next day injury was induced using a 2mm biopsy punch (Polymed, Switzerland). The formed cavity was filled with (0.4%) genipin-enhanced human based fibrin hydrogel (35-55mg/mL human fibrinogen, Baxter, Austria) and sealed with a silk fleece-membrane composite (Spintec Engineering, Germany). Different culture conditions were applied: free swelling, static diurnal load of 0.2MPa for 8h/d and complex loading at 0.2MPa compression combined with ± 2° torsion at 0.2Hz for 8h/d (2). After 14 days of culture cell activity was determined with resazurin assay. Additionally, glycosaminoglycan (dimethyl-methylene blue), DNA (Hoechst) and collagen content (hydroxy- proline) were determined. Finally, real-time qPCR of major IVD marker and inflammation genes was performed to judge integrity of IVDs.
Results: The fibrin hydrogel is able to keep the silk seal in place throughout the 14 days of in organ culture under all conditions. Additionally, cell activity showed optimistic results and we could not confirm negative effects of the repaired discs regarding overexpression of inflammation markers.
Conclusions: The genipin-enhanced fibrin hydrogel in combination with the silk fleece- membrane composite seems to be a promising approach for IVD repair. Currently we assess the capability of GDF-6 incorporated in our silk composites on human mesenchymal stem cells and later on in organ culture.
1. Clarke LE, McConnell JC, Sherratt MJ, Derby B, Richardson SM, Hoyland JA. Growth differentiation factor 6 and transforming growth factor-beta differentially mediate mesenchymal stem cell differentiation, composition and micromechanical properties of nucleus pulposus constructs. Arthritis Res Ther 2014, Mar 12;16(2):R67.
2. Chan SC, Gantenbein-Ritter B. Preparation of intact bovine tail intervertebral discs for organ culture. J Vis Exp 2012, Feb 2;60(60):e3490.
Acknowledgements. This work is funded by the Gebert Rüf Foundation, project number GRS-028/13.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Frauchiger, Daniela Angelika, Roth, Eva, Gantenbein, Benjamin


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




Rahel Deborah May

Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2016 11:37

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:51


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