A Substance Exchanger-Based Bioreactor Culture of Pig Discs for Studying the Immature Nucleus Pulposus.Artif Organs 2017; 41(11):E308-E319AO
Various research models have been developed to study the biology of disc cells. Recently, the adult disc nucleus pulposus (NP) has been well studied. However, the immature NP is underinvestigated due to a lack of a suitable model. This study aimed to establish an organ culture of immature porcine disc by optimizing culture conditions and using a self-developed substance exchanger-based bioreactor. Immature porcine discs were first cultured in the bioreactor for 7 days at various levels of glucose (low, medium, high), osmolarity (hypo-, iso-, hyper-) and serum (5, 10, 20%) to determine the respective optimal level. The porcine discs were then cultured under the optimized conditions in the novel bioreactor, and were compared with fresh discs at day 14. For high-glucose, iso-osmolarity, or 10% serum, cell viability, the gene expression profile (for anabolic genes and catabolic genes), and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and hydroxyproline (HYP) contents were more favorable than for other levels of glucose, osmolarity, and serum. When the immature discs were cultured under the optimized conditions using the novel bioreactor for 14 days, the viability of the immature NP was maintained based on histology, cell viability, GAG and HYP contents, and matrix molecule expression. In conclusion, the viability of the immature NP in organ culture could be maintained under the optimized culture conditions (high-glucose, iso-osmolarity, and 10% serum) in the substance exchanger-based bioreactor.