Tissue-Engineered Interverterbral Implant Feasible

Living intervertebral disc implant integrates in the spine of rats and functions like native IVD

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- After being implanted into the caudal spine, a living, tissue-engineered intervertebral disc (IVD) gets integrated into the spine, maintains disc space height, and produces new extracellular matrix (ECM) and intact motion segment similar to the native IVD, according to an experimental study published online Aug. 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Robby D. Bowles, from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and colleagues evaluated a living, tissue-engineered IVD implanted in the caudal spine of athymic rats for up to six months. The tissue-engineered IVD was composed of a gelatinous nucleus pulposus surrounded by an aligned collagenous annulus fibrosus.

The investigators found that the implanted tissue-engineered IVD integrated into the caudal spine, maintained disc space height, and produced new ECM similar to the intact IVD. The tissue-engineered IVD yielded an intact motion segment with dynamic mechanical properties similar to that of native IVD.

"These data demonstrate that a tissue-engineered IVD can be implanted into the caudal spine, remain in place, withstand the mechanical loads, and survive and produce an integrated and mechanically functional ECM similar to the native IVD," the authors write.

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