Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Regenerate the Intervertebral Disc

Regenerative therapy using the patient’s autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) is an extremely promising approach for the regeneration of the locomotory system, such as bone, cartilage and the intervertebral disc. FDA clearance of this approach, however, is hindered due to a number of issues such as the need of serum and the requirement to expand and passage these cells in vitro. Furthermore, currently there are only invasive, time-consuming and costly molecular or histological end-point analyses to judge stemness and commitment of these progenitor cells. However, the heterogenous nature of these cells causes problems to predict outcome and identity of these cells. Here, we investigate into novel non-invasive approaches to trace stem cells using latest developments in time-lapse microscopy and to look into novel approaches of non-invasive 3D microscopy of cells.

Live cell imaging using confocal laser scanning microscopy (cLSM 510, Carl Zeiss, Jena, Germany) of undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and committed cells using os- teogenic-, adipogenic- and chondrogenic differentiation medium, respectively (21 days in culture). Organelles were stained with tracker© dyes, i.e. Oregon Green (= tubulin tracker), Mito- tracker© deep red, DAPI (blue nucleus staining).

This is a collaborative project with MIA-Group of ISTB and the Regenerative Lung Group of the DKF, University of Bern