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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 8283257, 14 pages
Research Article

Differential Characterization of Two Kinds of Stem Cells Isolated from Rabbit Nucleus Pulposus and Annulus Fibrosus

1Department of Orthopedics, Second Military Medical University’s Jinan Clinical Medicine College, 25 Shifan Road, Jinan, Shandong 250031, China
2Department of Orthopedics, General Hospital of Jinan Military Command, 25 Shifan Road, Jinan, Shandong 250031, China
3Department of Burns and Cutaneous Surgery, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, No. 127 Changle West Road, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710032, China

Received 18 April 2016; Revised 18 July 2016; Accepted 11 August 2016

Academic Editor: Jianying Zhang

Copyright © 2016 Chenglin Sang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Nucleus pulposus (NP) and annulus fibrosus (AF) are two main components of intervertebral disc (IVD). We aimed to figure out whether NP and AF also contain stem cells and whether these stem cells share common properties with chondrocytes and/or fibroblasts in their phenotypes or whether they are completely different types of cells with different characteristics. Design. The disk cells were isolated from AF and NP tissues of the same lumbar spine of the rabbits. The properties of these disk cells were characterized by their morphology, population doubling time (PDT), stem cell marker expression, and multidifferentiation potential using tissue culture techniques, immunocytochemistry, and RT-PCR. Results. Both disk cells formed colonies in culture and expressed stem cell markers, nucleostemin, Oct-4, SSEA-4, and Stro-1, at early passages. However, after 5 passages, AFSCs became elongated and NPSCs appeared senescent. Conclusion. This study indicated that IVD contains stem cells and the characteristics of AFSCs and NPSCs are intrinsically different. The findings of this study may provide basic scientific data for understanding the properties of IVD cells and the mechanisms of lower back pain.