Stem cell regeneration of degenerated intervertebral discs: current status.

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2008 Apr;12(2):83-8
Authors: Richardson SM, Hoyland JA

Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions, and intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is associated with most cases. Although many treatment options are available, they focus on the removal of symptoms rather than repair of the degenerate tissue. However, there is a growing interest in the potential of cell-based tissue engineering strategies for regeneration of the damaged IVD. To achieve this, investigators are now focusing on the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which offer several advantages over more mature cell types. A number of problems must be overcome for MSC-based IVD regeneration to be successful, including determining a method for the differentiation of stem cells into nucleus pulposus-like cells. Although this is still a relatively new field, it offers huge potential for the clinical treatment of IVD degeneration and LBP in the future.

PMID: 18474185 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]