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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effect of autologous platelet-rich plasma-releasate on intervertebral disc degeneration in the rabbit anular puncture model: a preclinical study

Shuji Obata1, Koji Akeda1*, Takao Imanishi1, Koichi Masuda2, Won Bae3, Ryo Morimoto1, Yumiko Asanuma1, Yuichi Kasai4, Atsumasa Uchida1 and Akihiro Sudo1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-174 Edobashi, Tsu, 514-8507, Japan

2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0863, USA

3 Department of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, 408 Dickinson Street, San Diego, CA 92103-8226, USA

4 Department of Spinal Surgery and Medical Engineering, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-174 Edobashi, Tsu, 514-8507, Japan

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R241  doi:10.1186/ar4084

Published: 5 November 2012

Abstract

Introduction

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a fraction of plasma in which several growth factors are concentrated at high levels. The active soluble releasate isolated following platelet activation of PRP (PRP-releasate) has been demonstrated to stimulate the metabolism of IVD cells in vitro. The in vivo effect of PRP-releasate on degenerated IVD remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the reparative effects of autologous PRP-releasate on degenerated intervertebral discs (IVDs).

Methods

To induce disc degeneration, New Zealand white rabbits (n = 12) received anular puncture in two noncontiguous discs. Autologous PRP and PPP (platelet-poor plasma) were isolated from fresh blood using two centrifugation techniques. Four weeks after the initial puncture, releasate isolated from clotted PPP or PRP (PPP- or PRP-releasate), or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS; control) was injected into the punctured discs. Disc height, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) T2-mapping and histology were assessed.

Results

Anular puncture produced a consistent disc narrowing within four weeks. PRP-releasate induced a statistically significant restoration of disc height (PRP vs. PPP and PBS, P<0.05). In T2-quantification, the mean T2-values of the nucleus pulposus (NP) and anulus fibrosus (AF) of the discs were not significantly different among the three treatment groups. Histologically, the number of chondrocyte-like cells was significantly higher in the discs injected with PRP-releasate compared to that with PBS.

Conclusions

The administration of active PRP-releasate induced a reparative effect on rabbit degenerated IVDs. The results of this study suggest that the use of autologous PRP-releasate is safe and can lead to a clinical application for IVD degeneration.