Objective We developed a novel multi-torsional mechanical stretch stress loading device for ligamentum flavum cells and evaluated its influence on the development of ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, a common cause of lumbar spinal canal stenosis. Materials and methods Stretch strength of the device was optimized by applying 5% and 15% MSS loads for 24, 48, and 72 h. A cytotoxicity assay of human ligamentum flavum cells was performed and the results were compared to control (0% stress). Inflammatory markers (interleukin [IL]-6, IL-8), vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF], and extracellular matrix (ECM)-regulating cytokines (matrix metalloproteinase [MMP]-1, MMP-3 and MMP-9, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase [TIMP]-1 and TIMP-2) were quantified via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results Using our multi-torsional mechanical stretch stress loading device, 5% stress for 24 hour was optimal for ligamentum flavum cells. Under this condition, the IL-6 and IL-8 levels, VEGF level, and MMP-1, MMP-3, and TIMP-2 were significantly increased, compared to the control. Conclusion Using the novel multi-torsional mechanical stretch stress loading device we confirmed that, mechanical stress enhances the production of inflammatory cytokines and angiogenic factors, and altered the expression of ECM-regulating enzymes, possibly triggering ligamentum flavum hypertrophy.
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