Compression Loading Induced Cellular Stress Response of Intervertebral Disc Cells in Organ Culture

Chooi, Wai Hon; Chan, Samantha C. W.; Gantenbein, Benjamin; Chan, Barbara P. (2016). Compression Loading Induced Cellular Stress Response of Intervertebral Disc Cells in Organ Culture. Global Spine Journal, 6(1_suppl), s-0036-1582604-s-0036-1582604. Thieme 10.1055/s-0036-1582604

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Introduction: Mechanical stress is often associated to interverterbal disc (IVD) degeneration and the effect of mechanical loading on IVD has been studied and reviewed.1,2 Previously, expression of heat shock proteins, HSP70 and HSP27 has been found in pathological discs.3 However, there is no direct evidence on whether IVD cells respond to the mechanical loading by expression of HSPs. The objective of this study is to investigate the stress response of IVD cells during compressive loading in an organ culture. Materials and Methods: Fresh adult bovine caudal discs were cultured with compressive loading applied at physiological range. Effect of loading type (static and dynamic) and repeated loading (2 hours per day for 2 days) were studied. Nucleus pulposus (NP) and annulus fibrosus (AF) of the IVD were retrieved at different time points: right after loading and right after resting. Positive control discs were heat shocked (43°C). Cell activity was assessed and expression of stress response genes (HSP70 and HSF1) and matrix remodeling genes (ACAN, COL2, COL1, ADAMTS4, MMP3 and MMP13) were studied. Results: Cell activity was maintained in all groups. Both NP and AF expressed high level of HSP70 in heat shock groups, confirming their expression in response to stress. In NP, expression of HSP70 was up-regulated after static loading and dynamic loading with higher fold change was observed after static loading. During repeated loading, HSP70 appeared to be upregulated right after loading and decreased after resting. Such trend was not observed in AF and HSF1 levels. Expressions of matrix remodeling genes did not change significantly with loading except ADAMTS4 decreased in AF during static loading. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that NP cells upregulate expression of HSP70 in response to loading induced stress without changing cell activity and matrix remodeling significantly. Acknowledgments: This project was funded by AO Spine (AOSPN) (grant number: SRN_2011_14) and a fellowship exchange award by AO Spine Scientific Research Network (SRN).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Gantenbein, Benjamin


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








Rahel Deborah May

Date Deposited:

08 Jul 2016 13:18

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:56

Publisher DOI:



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