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Liu Z.-H.,Xian Air Force Hospital | Huo J.-L.,PLA Fourth Military Medical University | Wu Z.-G.,General Hospital of Lanzhou | Sun Z.,PLA Fourth Military Medical University | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology | Year: 2015

Apoptosis plays an important role in intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). Overwhelming evidence indicates that RASSF7 is essential for cell growth and apoptosis. Recently, it has been noted that the JNK signaling can be negatively regulated by suppressing phosphorylated-MKK7 activation during pro-apoptosis. We aimed to investigate the RASSF7 expression level in human degenerative nucleus pulposus (NP) cells and non-degenerative NP cells and the link between RASSF7-JNK with NP cells apoptosis. We harvested NP tissues from 20 IDD patients as disease group and 8 cadaveric donors as normal controls. We detected RASSF7 expression by Real-time-PCR and western blotting. Consequently, we found that the expression of RASSF7 was higher in non-degenerative group than in degenerative group (P < 0.05). Overexpression of RASSF7 in degenerative NP cells led to decreased apoptosis rate than that in scramble group (P < 0.05). Collectively, our findings suggest that RASSF7 plays an important role in human IDD and RASSF7 might be potentially developed as a curative agent. Source

Ma C.-J.,PLA Fourth Military Medical University | Liu X.,PLA Fourth Military Medical University | Che L.,PLA Fourth Military Medical University | Liu Z.-H.,Xian Air Force Hospital | And 2 more authors.
Current Stem Cell Research and Therapy | Year: 2015

As a main contributing factor to low back pain, inter vertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is the fundamental basis for various debilitating spinal diseases. The pros and cons of current treatment modalities necessitate biological treatment strategies targeting for reversing or altering the degeneration process in terms of molecules or genes. The advances in stem cell research facilitate the studies aiming for possible clinical application of stem cell therapies for IDD. Human NP cells are versatile with cell morphology full of variety, capable of synthesizing extra cellular matrix components, engulfing substances by autophagy and phagocytosis, mitochondrial vacuolization indicating dysfunction, expressing Fas and FasL as significant omens ofimmune privileged sites. Human discs belong to immune privilege organs with functional FasL expression, which can interactwith invasive immune cells by Fas-FasL regulatory machinery. IDD is characterized by decreased expression levelof FasL with dysfunctional FasL, which in turn unbalances the interaction between NP cells and immune cells. Certainmodulation factors might play a role in the process, such as miR-155. Accumulating evidence indicates that Fas-FasLnetwork expresses in a variety of stem cells. Given the expression of functional FasL and insensitive Fas in stem cells (weterm as FasL privilege), transplantation of stem cells into the disc may regenerate the degenerative disc by not only differentiatinginto NP-like cells, increasing extracellular matrix, but also reinforce immune privilege via interaction with immunecells by Fas-FasL network. © 2015, Bentham Science Publishers. Source

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