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Tissue Eng. 2003 Aug;9(4):667-77.

The notochordal cell in the nucleus pulposus: a review in the context of tissue engineering.

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McCaig Centre for Joint Injury and Arthritis Research, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.


An understanding of developmental biology can provide useful insights into how different tissue-engineered repairs might be designed. During embryogenesis of the intervertebral disk, the cells of the notochord play a critical role in initiating tissue formation, and may be responsible for development of the nucleus pulposus. In some species, including humans, these notochordal cells may eventually be lost, either through apoptosis or terminal differentiation, and are replaced by chondrocyte-like cells. However, there is some evidence that the notochordal cells may persist in at least some humans. This review discusses some of the potential applications of notochordal cells in tissue engineering of the nucleus pulposus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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