1. School of Health Science and Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, No. 516 Jungong Road, Shanghai 200093, China
2. Department of Orthopedics, Changzheng Hospital, Naval Medical University, No.415 Fengyang Road, Shanghai 200003, China.
3. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Naval Medical Center, Naval Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.
4. Department of Department of Physiology, Naval Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.
† These authors have contributed equally to this work and share first authorship
Intervertebral disc degeneration (IVDD) is a prevalent and debilitating condition characterized by chronic back pain and reduced quality of life. Strontium ranelate (SRR) is a compound traditionally used for treating osteoporosis via activating TGF-β1 signaling pathway. Recent studies have proved the anti-inflammatory effect of SRR on chondrocytes. Although the exact mechanism of IVDD remains unclear, accumulating evidences have emphasized the involvement of multifactorial pathogenesis including inflammation, oxidative stress damage, and etc. However, the biological effect of SRR on IVDD and its molecular mechanism has not been investigated. Firstly, this study proved the decreased expression of Transforming Growth Factor-beta 1(TGF-β1) in degenerated human intervertebral disc tissues. Subsequently, we confirmed for the first time that SRR could promote cell proliferation, mitigate inflammation and oxidative stress in human nucleus pulposus cells in vitro via increasing the expression of TGF-β1 and suppressing the Nuclear Factor Kappa-Light-Chain-Enhancer of Activated B Cells (NF-κB) pathway. The molecular docking result proved the interaction between SRR and TGF-β1 protein. To further verify this interaction, gain- and loss- of function experiments were conducted. We discovered that both TGF-β1 knockdown and overexpression influenced the activation of the NF-κB pathway. Taken together, SRR could mitigate IL-1β induced-cell dysfunction in human nucleus pulposus cells by regulating TGF-β1/NF-κB axis in vitro. Finally, the in vivo therapeutic effect of SRR on IVDD was confirmed. Our findings may contribute to the understanding of the complex interplay between inflammation and degenerative processes in the intervertebral disc and provide valuable insights into the development of targeted treatment-based therapeutics for IVDD.
Keywords: Strontium Ranelate, IVDD, Targeted treatment, TGF-β1/NF-κB Axis