Investigation of the Regenerative Effects of porcine Notochordal Cells onto bovine Intervertebral Disc Cells under Co-culture

Notochordal Cells (NC) originate from the embryonic notochord, which organizes the embryo during development before establishment of the vertebrae and the spine. The cells disappear in humans in childhood, whereas in other mammals (e.g. mice, rats, pigs), these cells persist throughout their lifetime at higher numbers. Most recently, these cells have been shown to have regenerative potential for other intervertebral disc (IVD) cells. We have found that - even under non-optimized isolation and culture conditions - these cells have a strong potential to activate nucleus pulposus (NP) cells (i.e. the cells from the center of the disc) in a rather short culture period of 14 days, but the mechanisms are still unknown. This project is funded by a Mäxi Grant from the Center of Applied Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, University of Zürich.