Canonical Wnt signaling in the notochordal cell is upregulated in early intervertebral disk degeneration

Lucas A Smolders, Björn P Meij, Frank M Riemers, Ruud Licht, Richard Wubbolts, Douwe Heuvel, Guy C M Grinwis, Hans C M Vernooij, Herman A W Hazewinkel, Louis C Penning, Marianna A Tryfonidou
Journal of Orthopaedic Research: Official Publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society 2012, 30 (6): 950-7
The notochordal cell (NC) of the nucleus pulposus (NP) is considered a potential NP progenitor cell, and early intervertebral disk (IVD) degeneration involves replacement of NCs by chondrocyte-like cells (CLCs). Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays a crucial role in maintaining the notochordal fate during embryogenesis, but is also involved in tissue degeneration and regeneration. The canine species, which can be subdivided into non-chondrodystrophic and chondrodystrophic breeds, is characterized by differential maintenance of the NC: in non-chondrodystrophic dogs, the NC remains the predominant cell type during the majority of life, with IVD degeneration only occurring at old age; conversely, in chondrodystrophic dogs the NC is lost early in life, with concurrent degeneration of all IVDs. This study investigated Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the healthy, NC-rich NP and early degenerated, CLC-rich NP of both breed types by immunohistochemistry of β-catenin and relative gene expression of brachyury and cytokeratin 8 (notochordal markers) and Wnt targets axin2, cyclin D1, and c-myc. Both NCs and CLCs showed nuclear and cytoplasmic β-catenin protein expression and axin2 gene expression, but β-catenin signal intensity and Wnt target gene expression were higher in the CLC-rich NP. Primary NCs in monolayer culture (normoxic conditions) showed Wnt/β-catenin signaling comparable to the in vivo situation, with increased cyclin D1 and c-myc gene expression. In conclusion, Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity in the NC within the NC-rich NP and in culture supports the role of this cell as a potential progenitor cell; increased Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity in early IVD degeneration may be a reflection of its dual role.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"