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J Int Med Res. 2017 Apr;45(2):462-470. doi: 10.1177/0300060516683077. Epub 2017 Feb 8.

Effect of a low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field on expression and secretion of IL-1β and TNF-α in nucleus pulposus cells.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.


Objective To investigate changes in nucleus pulposus cell expression and secretion of interleukin (IL)-1β and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α following stimulation with a low-frequency (LF) pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF). Methods Primary rat nucleus pulposus cells were isolated and cultured in vitro, followed by stimulation with LF-PEMFs at a frequency of 2 Hz and different intensities, ranging from 0.5-3.0 A/m. Cells were observed for morphological changes, and proliferation rates were measured by cell viability counts. Expression of IL-1β and TNF-α within the nucleus pulposus cells was measured using western blotting, and levels of IL-1β and TNF-α secreted in the culture media were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results Stimulation of nucleus pulposus cells with LF-PEMFs did not appear to affect cell morphology or nucleus pulposus cell IL-1β and TNF-α expression levels. LF-PEMFs did not significantly affect cell proliferation, however, levels of IL-1β and TNF-α secreted into the culture media were found to be significantly reduced in an intensity-dependent manner. Conclusion Low-frequency PEMF stimulation may inhibit secretion of IL-1β and TNF-α in cultured nucleus pulposus cells.


Low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field; interleukin-1β (IL-1β); nucleus pulposus cells; tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)

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