Zonal responsiveness of the human intervertebral disc to bone morphogenetic protein-2

Hyang Kim, Jeong Uk Lee, Seong Hwan Moon, Hyung Chan Kim, Un Hae Kwon, Nam Hun Seol, Ho Joong Kim, Jin Oh Park, Heoung Jae Chun, Il Keun Kwon, Hwan Mo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design.: In vitro experiment using bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) and cells from the nucleus pulposus (NP), transitional zone (TZ), and anulus fibrosus (AF) of the human intervertebral disc (IVD). Objective.: To demonstrate the differential effect of BMP-2 on DNA synthesis, proteoglycan synthesis, and osteocalcin mRNA expression in human IVD cells from the NP, TZ, and AF, respectively. Summary of Background Data.: BMP-2 has been proven to be effective in stimulating proteoglycan synthesis in articular chondrocytes and IVD cells from the NP. Nevertheless, the effect of BMP-2 on cells from different regions of the IVD has not yet been thoroughly elucidated. Methods.: Human IVDs were harvested from surgical disc procedures and tissue from the NP, TZ, and AF was obtained. Disc tissue was enzymatically digested, and IVD cells were cultured three-dimensionally in alginate beads. Then IVD cell cultures from the NP, TZ, and AF were exposed to BMP-2. DNA synthesis and newly synthesized proteoglycan were measured. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for mRNA expression of bone sialoprotein, DLX5, osteocalcin, and collagen type I, was performed. Results.: Cells from the AF responded to BMP-2 with mitogenesis. There was no significant increase in DNA synthesis in cultures from the NP and TZ treated with BMP-2. Only cells from the NP showed a significant increase in newly synthesized proteoglycan in response to BMP-2. IVD cells from all zones demonstrated no significant expression of bone sialoprotein, DLX5, osteocalcin mRNA after treatment with BMP-2. Conclusion.: BMP-2 clearly exerted a mitogenic effect on AF cells, and stimulated proteoglycan synthesis in NP cells. However, BMP-2 did not have an osteogenic effect in any IVD region. Taken together, these results confirm that BMP-2 can be used as an anabolic agent for mitogenesis in AF cells and NP cell matrix regeneration without the possibility of osteogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1834-1838
Number of pages5
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone morphogenetic protein-2
  • Intervertebral disc cell
  • Proteoglycan synthesis
  • Zonal effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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