Supplementary Material for: Lycorine Suppresses Endplate-Chondrocyte Degeneration and Prevents Intervertebral Disc Degeneration by Inhibiting NF-κB Signalling Pathway

Background/Aims: Cartilaginous endplate (CEP) degeneration is an important cause for intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration that leads to low-back pain. The identification of compounds that may prevent CEP degeneration is of interest for the prevention of IVD degeneration. Methods: Catabolic protease expression in the CEP of disc degeneration patients was first assessed. The toxicity, function and underlying mechanism of lycorine (LY) on CEP-derived chondrocytes degeneration were assessed in vitro by flow cytometry analysis and western blotting. The concentration and function of LY in rat-tail disc-degeneration models were also assessed by HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) quantification and histological analysis. Results: In CEP cells, Interleukin (IL)-1β upregulated the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3, MMP-13, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)-4 and ADAMTS-5 that is critical for the degradation of cartilage extracellular matrix. Interestingly, LY suppressed the expression of these enzymes via the inhibition of nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) signalling and thus prevented IL-1β-induced endplate cell degeneration in vitro. More importantly, LY also reduced the expression of MMP-3, MMP-13, ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 in CEP and exerted a protective effect on both CEP and nucleus pulposus (NP) degeneration. In addition to its inhibitory effect on matrix-degrading protease expression, LY treatment also reduced positive regulators of proinflammatory cytokines, such as MIF, which can be secreted by CEP cells and subsequently target NP cells. Conclusion: LY could serve as a potential drug for treating IVD disease.