Lactate oxidative phosphorylation by annulus fibrosus cells: Evidence for lactate-dependent metabolic symbiosis in intervertebral discs

Dong WangNam Vo


BackgroundIntervertebral disc degeneration contributes to low back pain. The avascular intervertebral disc consists of a central hypoxic nucleus pulpous (NP) surrounded by the more oxygenated annulus fibrosus (AF). Lactate, an abundant end-product of NP glycolysis, has long been viewed as a harmful waste that acidifies disc tissue and decreases cell viability and function. The objective of this study was to determine whether lactate could be used by AF cells as a carbon source rather than being removed from disc tissue as a waste byproduct.Methods.Import and conversion of lactate to tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates and amino acids in rabbit AF cells were measured by heavy-isotope (13C-lactate) tracing experiments using mass spectrometry. Levels of protein expression of lactate converting enzymes, lactate importer and exporter in NP and AF tissues were quantified by Western blots. Effects of lactate on proteoglycan (35S-sulfate) and collagen (3H-proline) matrix protein synthesis and oxidative phosphorylation (Seahorse XFe96 Extracellular Flux Analyzer) in AF cells were assessed.Results.Heavy-isotope tracing experiments revealed that AF cells imported and converted lactate into TCA cycle intermediates and amino acids ...Continue Reading

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