Supplementary Material for: Establishment of a Cytocompatible Cell-Free Intervertebral Disc Matrix for Chondrogenesis with Human Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells

Tissue-engineered intervertebral discs (IVDs) utilizing decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM) could be an option for the reconstruction of impaired IVDs due to degeneration or injury. The objective of this study was to prepare a cell-free decellularized human IVD scaffold and to compare neotissue formation in response to recellularization with human IVD cells (hIVDCs) or human bone marrow-derived (hBM) mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). IVDs were decellularized via freeze-thaw cycles, detergents and trypsin. Histological staining was performed to monitor cell removal and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) removal. The decellularized IVD was preconditioned using bovine serum albumin and fetal bovine serum before its cytocompatibility for dynamically cultured hBM-MSCs (chondrogenically induced or not) and hIVDCs was compared after 14 days. In addition, DNA, total collagen and GAG contents were assessed. The decellularization protocol achieved maximal cell removal, with only few remaining cell nuclei compared with native tissue, and low toxicity. The DNA content was significantly higher in scaffolds seeded with hIVDCs compared with native IVDs, cell-free and hBM-MSC-seeded scaffolds (p < 0.01). The GAG content in the native tissue was significantly higher compared to the others groups except for the scaffolds reseeded with chondrogenically induced hBM-MSCs (p < 0.05). In addition, there was a significantly increased total collagen content in the chondrogenically induced hBM-MSCs group (p < 0.01) compared with the native IVDs, cell-free and hIVDC-seeded scaffolds (p < 0.01); both recolonizing cell types were more evenly distributed on the scaffold surface, but only few cells penetrated the scaffold. The resulting decellularized ECM was cytocompatible and allowed hBM-MSCs/hIVDCs survival and ECM production.