Identification and Characterizations of Annulus Fibrosus-Derived Stem Cells

  • Qianping Guo
  • Pinghui Zhou
  • Bin LiEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1842)


Annulus fibrosus (AF) injuries are common in degenerative disc disease (DDD) and can lead to substantial deterioration of the intervertebral disc. However, repair or regeneration of AF remains challenging. Recently, we have found that there exists a subpopulation of cells, which form colonies in vitro and could self-renew, in AF tissue. These cells express typical surface antigen molecules of mesenchymal stem cells, including CD29, CD44, and CD166. They also express common stem cell markers such as Oct-4, nucleostemin, and SSEA-4. In addition, they can be induced to differentiate into adipocytes, osteocytes, and chondrocytes. Being AF tissue-specific, such AF-derived stem cells may potentially be an ideal candidate for DDD treatments using stem cell-based cell therapies or tissue engineering approaches.

Key words

Degenerative disc disease Annulus fibrosus Annulus fibrosus-derived stem cells Colony-forming Stemness Differentiation 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81171479, 31530024, and 81672213), National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFC1100203), Jiangsu Provincial Special Program of Medical Science (BL2012004), Jiangsu Provincial Clinical Orthopedic Center, Key Laboratory of Stem Cells and Biomedical Materials of Jiangsu Province and Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Priority Academic Program Development (PAPD) of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomaterials and Cell Mechanics Laboratory (BCML), Orthopedic InstituteSoochow UniversitySuzhouChina

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