Yu-Hsiang Hsu, Cheng-Nan Chen, Hsin-I Chang, Hui-Ling Tsai, Yu-Hsien Chang, I-Szu Cheng, Yu-Shiuan Yang, Kuo-Yuan Huang

October 2023, Volume 32, Issue 10, pp 3413 - 3424 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-023-07878-z

First Online: 10 August 2023


To elucidate whether pro-inflammatory cytokines might influence the commitment of intervertebral disc (IVD)- and ligamentum flavum (LF)-derived progenitor cells toward either osteogenesis or adipogenesis, specifically Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-19, and IL-20.


Sixty patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis and lumbar or lumbosacral spinal stenosis were included in the study. Injuries to the spine, infections, and benign or malignant tumors were excluded. From nine patient samples, IVD- and LF-derived cells were isolated after primary culture, and two clinical samples were excluded due to mycoplasma infection. The effects of IL-1β, IL-19, as well as IL-20 in regulating osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation in vitro were investigated.


Primary IVD- and LF-derived cells were found to have a similar cell morphology and profile of surface markers (CD44, CD90, and CD105) as placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Primary IVD/LF cells have a high capacity to differentiate into osteocytes and adipocytes. IL-19 had a tendency to promote adipogenesis. IL-20 inhibited osteogenesis and promoted adipogenesis; IL-1β promoted osteogenesis but inhibited adipogenesis.


IL-1β, IL-19, and IL-20 impact the adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation of IVD-derived and LF-derived cells. Modulating the expression of IL-1β, IL-19, and IL-20 provides a potential avenue for controlling cell differentiation of IVD- and LF-derived cells, which might have beneficial effect for degenerative spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis.

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