Articles by Jennifer W. Liu in JoVE
An In Vitro Organ Culture Model of the Murine Intervertebral Disc Jennifer W. Liu1,3, Kevin H. Lin2, Christian Weber1, Sameer Bhalla2, Sean Kelso4, Kaixi Wang3, Simon Y. Tang1,3,4 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, 4Department of Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis Whole organ culture of the intervertebral disc (IVD) preserves the native extracellular matrix, cell phenotypes, and cellular-matrix interactions. Here we describe an IVD culture system using mouse lumbar and caudal IVDs in their functional spinal units and several applications utilizing this system.
Other articles by Jennifer W. Liu on PubMed
The High-throughput Phenotyping of the Viscoelastic Behavior of Whole Mouse Intervertebral Discs Using a Novel Method of Dynamic Mechanical Testing Journal of Biomechanics. Jul, 2015 | Pubmed ID: 26004435 Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is highly correlated with lower back pain, and thus understanding the mechanisms of IVD degeneration is critical for the treatment of this disease. Utilizing mouse models to probe the mechanisms of degeneration is especially attractive due to the ease of manipulating mouse models and the availability of transgenics. Yet characterizing the mechanical behavior of mice IVDs remain challenging due to their minute size (approximately 540 μm in height and 1080 μm(2) in cross sectional area). We have thus developed a simple method to dynamically characterize the mechanical properties of intact mouse IVDs. The IVDs were dissected with the endplates intact, and dynamically compressed in the axial direction at 1% and 5% peak strains at 1 Hz. Utilizing this novel approach, we examined the effects of in vitro ribosylation and trypsin digestion for 24 or 72 h on the viscoelastic behavior of the whole murine IVD. Trypsin treatment resulted in a decrease of proteoglycans and loss of disc height, while ribosylation had no effect on structure or proteoglycan composition. The 72 h ribosylation group exhibited a stiffening of the disc, and both treatments significantly reduced viscous behavior of the IVDs, with the effects being more pronounced at 5% strain. Here we demonstrate a novel high-throughput method to mechanically characterize murine IVDs and detect strain-dependent differences in the elastic and the viscous behavior of the treated IVDs due to ribose and trypsin treatments.
Longitudinal Changes in the Structure and Inflammatory Response of the Intervertebral Disc Due to Stab Injury in a Murine Organ Culture Model Journal of Orthopaedic Research : Official Publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society. Aug, 2016 | Pubmed ID: 27273204 Despite the significant public health impact of intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration and low back pain, it remains challenging to investigate the multifactorial molecular mechanisms that drive the degenerative cascade. Organ culture model systems offer the advantage of allowing cells to live and interact with their native extracellular matrix, while simultaneously reducing the amount of biological variation and complexity present at the organismal level. Murine organ cultures in particular also allow the use of widely available genetically modified animals with molecular level reporters that would reveal insights on the degenerative cascade. Here, we utilize an organ culture system of murine lumbar functional spinal units where we are able to maintain the cellular, metabolic, and structural, and mechanical stability of the whole organ over a 21-day period. Furthermore, we describe a novel approach in organ culture by using tissues from animals with an NF-κB-luc reporter in combination with a mechanical injury model, and are able to show that proinflammatory factors and cytokines such as NF-κB and IL-6 produced by IVD cells can be monitored longitudinally during culture in a stab injury model. Taken together, we utilize a murine organ culture system that maintains the cellular and tissue level behavior of the intervertebral disc and apply it to transgenic animals that allow the monitoring of the inflammatory profile of IVDs. This approach could provide important insights on the molecular and metabolic mediators that regulate the homeostasis of the IVD. © 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 34:1431-1438, 2016.