Effect of biphasic electrical current stimulation on IL-1β-stimulated annulus fibrosus cells using in vitro microcurrent generating chamber system

Joo Han Kim, Hyuk Choi, Min Ji Suh, Jae Hee Shin, Min Ho Hwang, Heung Man Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design: Human annulus fibrosus (AF) cells were stimulated in vitro with interleukin (IL)-1β and exposed to biphasic electrical currents. Objective: To identify the effect of biphasic electrical currents on the production of the extracellular matrix-modifying enzymes and inflammatory mediators in IL-1β-stimulated AF cells. Summary of Background Data: Symptomatic disc degeneration is an important cause of chronic intractable lumbar pain and is associated with macrophage-mediated inflammation in the AF. The inflammatory reaction relationship has not been studied in the AF. Methods: Human AF cells were treated with 1 ng/mL IL-1β and cultured in a microcurrent generating chamber system. The levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, MMP-3, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2, IL-6, IL-8, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor, and nitric oxide (NO) were measured. Expression of cyclooxygenase 2 and type I collagen mRNA was analyzed. Results: Compared with unstimulated cells, IL-1β-stimulated AF cells produced significantly higher levels of MMP-1, MMP-3, IL-6, IL-8, NO, and VEGF, and lower levels of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2. Exposure to a 250-mV/mm field induced time-dependent increases in IL-6, NO, MMP-1, TIMP-1, VEGF, and insulin-like growth factor-1 production. The cells exposed to 500-mV/mm field produced significantly less MMP-1, TIMP-1, IL-6, and VEGF than unexposed cells (MMP-1, 17.2 ± 4.7 ng/mL vs. 27.3 ± 3.9 ng/mL, P< 0.05; TIMP-1, 12.4 ± 3.3 ng/mL vs. 22.3 ± 2.1 ng/mL, P< 0.02; IL-6, 2.5 ± 0.9 ng/mL vs. 6.39 ± 1.90 ng/mL, P< 0.05; and VEGF, 0.1 ± 0.04 ng/mL vs. 0.44 ± 0.15 ng/mL, P< 0.03). NO production was markedly increased at 500 mV/mm (P< 0.0001). Conclusion: We showed that exposure of IL-1β-stimulated AF cells to a 500 mV/mm inhibited MMP-1, IL-6, VEGF, and TIMP-1 production. The results suggest that biphasic electrical current stimulation may have efficacy in diminishing symptomatic disc degeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1368-E1376
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct 15


  • ECM-modifying enzymes
  • ELISA.
  • annulus fi brosus
  • biphasic electrical current
  • infl ammation
  • infl ammatory mediators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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