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Sci Transl Med. 2018 Nov 21;10(468). pii: eaau0670. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau0670.

Long-term mechanical function and integration of an implanted tissue-engineered intervertebral disc.

Author information

1
Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
2
McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
3
School of Biomedical Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
4
Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19348, USA.
5
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
6
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.
7
Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. lemauck@pennmedicine.upenn.edu harvey.smith@uphs.upenn.edu.
8
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

Tissue engineering holds great promise for the treatment of advanced intervertebral disc degeneration. However, assessment of in vivo integration and mechanical function of tissue-engineered disc replacements over the long term, in large animal models, will be necessary to advance clinical translation. To that end, we developed tissue-engineered, endplate-modified disc-like angle ply structures (eDAPS) sized for the rat caudal and goat cervical spines that recapitulate the hierarchical structure of the native disc. Here, we demonstrate functional maturation and integration of these eDAPS in a rat caudal disc replacement model, with compressive mechanical properties reaching native values after 20 weeks in vivo and evidence of functional integration under physiological loads. To further this therapy toward clinical translation, we implanted eDAPS sized for the human cervical disc space in a goat cervical disc replacement model. Our results demonstrate maintenance of eDAPS composition and structure up to 8 weeks in vivo in the goat cervical disc space and maturation of compressive mechanical properties to match native levels. These results demonstrate the translational feasibility of disc replacement with a tissue-engineered construct for the treatment of advanced disc degeneration.

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