Chronic lower back pain (LBP), which can affect up to 80% of the population at some point in their lives, and neck pain normally follows a treatment protocol which progresses from conservative, symptomatic treatment through surgical intervention. A significant portion of these chronic issues are due to intervertebral disc deterioration (IVD), for whom these treatments only address the symptoms and not the underlying problems. Lu et al., in their study, conclude, "exosomes generated from a variety of MSC sources have been shown to effectively exhibit anti-apoptotic, antioxidative stress, anti-inflammatory, and ECM homeostatic capabilities when delivered to IVDD patients in pre-clinical investigations. Hence, their therapeutic biological functions may provide a novel potential cell-free treatment for the regeneration and repair of IVD while minimizing the risks associated with cell therapy." Lu et al. also include Figure 1, below, demonstrating the differences between healthy and degenerate intervertebral discs.
There has been a flurry of research in this area, with Wang et al, saying, "With the development of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, exosomes from different sources, especially mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (MSC-exos) as active biological substances for intercellular communication have made rapid progress due to their potency in promoting tissue regeneration."