Degeneration of the intervertebral disc (IVD) is a major spinal disorder that causes back pain. Nucleus pulposus (NP) in the central of IVD dehydrates and become more fibrous in the IVD degeneration. NP cells undergo apoptosis with the degeneration of extracellular matrix (ECM) components. To replenish the NP cells and core ECM, bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSCs) have been highlighted in the regeneration of IVD degeneration. BMSCs differentiate into NP-like cells with the secretion of ECM components, which may not only replenish the number of NP cells but also stimulate NP reconstruction. This further maintains tissue homeostasis. Up to date, the disc progenitor cells (DPCs) have been identified with the characteristics of multidifferentiation and stem cell phenotype. These cells are involved in the IVD diseases and show regenerative potentials. However, the differences between the BMSCs and DPCs remain elusive, in particular, the cellular connection in vivo. As such, this chapter will discuss the findings of the two cell types and propose a novel concept in the understanding of the biology of IVD.
Part of the book: Mesenchymal Stem Cells