The Effect of Adenosine on Extracellular Matrix Production in Porcine Intervertebral Disc Cells

Xue Yin, Silvia Gonzales, Somya Sha, Howard Levene, Chun Yuh Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Compressive loading promotes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and release by intervertebral disc (IVD) cells. Extracellular ATP can be rapidly hydrolyzed by ectonucleotidases. Adenosine, one of the adenine derivatives of ATP hydrolysis, can modulate diverse cellular actions via adenosine receptors. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of exogenous adenosine on the production of extracellular matrix (ECM; i.e., collagen type II and aggrecan) and ATP of IVD cells and explore the underlying mechanism of action. It was found that adenosine treatment significantly upregulated aggrecan and type II collagen gene expression and the ATP level in IVD cells. Dipyridamole, an adenosine transport blocker, completely suppressed the effects of adenosine on the ATP production and ECM gene expression of the IVD cells, whereas antagonists of adenosine receptors did not significantly affect adenosine-treated IVD cells. The findings suggested that elevated intracellular ATP and upregulation of ECM gene expression by adenosine treatment are mainly due to adenosine uptake rather than receptor activation. Since ECM biosynthesis is a high ATP demanding process, supplementing adenosine could be beneficial as IVD cells are able to utilize it to replenish intracellular ATP and sequentially promote ECM production, which is constantly suppressed by limited nutrition supply due to the avascular nature of the IVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalCells Tissues Organs
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Adenosine
  • Adenosine triphosphate
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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