Annulus cells release ATP in response to vibratory loading in vitro.
Mechanical forces regulate the developmental path and phenotype of a variety of tissues and cultured cells. Vibratory loading as a mechanical stimulus occurs in connective tissues due to energy returned from ground reaction forces, as well as a mechanical input from use of motorized tools and vehicles. Structures in the spine may be particularly at risk when exposed to destructive vibratory stimuli. Cells from many tissues respond to mechanical stimuli, such as fluid flow, by increasing intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](ic)) and releasing adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP), extracellularly, as a mediator to activate signaling pathways. Therefore, we examined whether ATP is released from rabbit (rAN) and human (hAN) intervertebral disc annulus cells in response to vibratory loading. ATP release from annulus cells by vibratory stimulation as well as in control cells was quantitated using a firefly luciferin-luciferase assay. Cultured hAN and rAN cells had a basal level of extracellular ATP ([ATP](ec)) in the range of 1-1.5 nM. Vibratory loading of hAN cells stimulated ATP release, reaching a net maximum [ATP] within 10 min of continuous vibration, and shortly thereafter, [ATP] declined and returned to below baseline level. [ATP] in the supernatant fluid of hAN cells was significantly reduced compared to the control level when the cells received vibration for longer than 15 min. In rAN cells, [ATP] was increased in response to vibratory loading, attaining a level significantly greater than that of the control after 30 min of continuous vibration. Results of the current study show that resting annulus cells secrete ATP and maintain a basal [ATP](ec). Annulus cells may use this nucleotide as a signaling messenger in an autocrine/paracrine fashion in response to vibratory loading. Rapid degradation of ATP to ADP may alternatively modulate cellular responses. It is hypothesized that exposure to repetitive, complex vibration regimens may activate signaling pathways that regulate matrix destruction in the disc. As in tendon cells, ATP may block subsequent responses to load and modulate the vibration response. Rabbit annulus cells were used as a readily obtainable source of cells in development of an animal model for testing effects of vibration on the disc. Human cells obtained from discarded surgical specimens were used to correlate responses of animal to human cells.
Yamazaki, S; Weinhold, PS; Graff, RD; Tsuzaki, M; Kawakami, M; Minchew, JT; Banes, AJ
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