Research ArticleBIOMATERIALS

Implantation of hyaluronic acid hydrogel prevents the pain phenotype in a rat model of intervertebral disc injury

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Science Advances  04 Apr 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 4, eaaq0597
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq0597

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Abstract

Painful intervertebral disc degeneration is mediated by inflammation that modulates glycosylation and induces hyperinnervation and sensory sensitization, which result in discogenic pain. Hyaluronic acid (HA) used as a therapeutic biomaterial can reduce inflammation and pain, but the effects of HA therapy on glycosylation and pain associated with disc degeneration have not been previously determined. We describe a novel rat model of pain induced by intervertebral disc injury, with validation of the pain phenotype by morphine treatment. Using this model, we assessed the efficacy of HA hydrogel for the alleviation of pain, demonstrating that it reduced nociceptive behavior, an effect associated with down-regulation of nociception markers and inhibition of hyperinnervation. Furthermore, HA hydrogel altered glycosylation and modulated key inflammatory and regulatory signaling pathways, resulting in attenuation of inflammation and regulation of matrix components. Our results suggest that HA hydrogel is a promising clinical candidate for the treatment of back pain caused by degenerated discs.

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