Dr Christine Le Maitre
Senior lecturer in molecular cell biology
Phone 0114 225 6163
Intervertebral disc degeneration
Low back pain is a major problem to the community affecting approximately 80 per cent of the population sometimes in their lives. Intervertebral disc degeneration has been implicated in approximately 40 per cent of cases of low back pain and thus is a promising therapeutic target. However the current therapies are purely symptomatic or involve surgery which does not address the initial causes of low back pain. I am interested in improving the understanding of the pathogenesis of intervertebral disc degeneration with the aim to develop new therapeutic approaches targeted at the abnormal cell biology which results in intervertebral disc degeneration. My research to date has focused on investigating the involvement of a number of proteases (MMPs and ADAMTS), cytokines (IL-1β and TNF α) and the role of cellular senescence in the pathogenesis of disc degeneration. With the aim to develop new therapeutic strategies (including gene therapy and smart biomaterials) to inhibit the processes involved in disc degeneration. This work is particularly focused on the inhibition of the actions of the inflammatory cytokine IL-1, which my previous work has shown is a key target for the prevention of disc degeneration. In addition I am interested in the development of tissue regeneration strategies involving the use of Mesenchymal stem cells to replace the dysfunctional disc cells, and novel tissue engineering approaches. I have also been involved in the development of culture systems in which human intervertebral disc can be maintained in a culture system which mimics the in vivo environment of the disc which is based at Manchester University.
Nutraceutical's in the prevention and treatment of cancer
I have recently become interested in investigating the biological effects on cancer and non-tumour cells of a number of nutraceutical compounds which have been suggested as possible therapeutic alternatives for cancer prevention and treatment. I am investigating the effects of these compounds on the induction of apoptosis/necrosis, reduced cell replication and influences on cytokine production and signalling pathways involved in the pathogenesis of cancers. My particular area of interest is leukaemias although I am also interesting in a number of cancer types and locations, and the differences between the efficacy of the nutraceuticals at each site.
- Haytham Dahwali. Pomegranate juice and its potential for treatment of leukaemia
- Rana Zaini. Nutraceutical polyacetylenes and leukaemia
- Kate Philips. Role of cytokines and chemokines in the pathogenesis of low back pain
- Sara Dunn (first supervisor). The effects of cannabinoids on chondrocyte metabolism
- Becky Lewis. Hydro Delivery for the Back
- Amani Mahbub. Examination of the effect of polyphenols isolated from Rheum Spp. on haematological malignancies
- Thomas Smallwood. Spectroscopic analysis of intervertebral discs and polymer systems
Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA, Le Maitre CL, Richardson S. Treatment of spinal conditions. WO 2005/085421 A3, 15 September 2005.
EPSRC Bridging the Gap- Engineering for Life Sheffield Hallam University Seed Corn Funding: Sustainable Hydroponics. Bricklebank N, Le Maitre CL, Read H, Langley G. £12,000: March 2011–February 2012.
DISCS- Identification of differential intracellular signalling pathways between catabolic and anabolic factors in the intervertebral disc. Le Maitre CL: £18,000: September 2011–August 2012.
EPSRC Feasibility funding- Engineering for Life Sheffield Hallam University: Hydrogel Delivery for the Back. Le Maitre CL, Sammon C. £ 52,838. March 2011–January 2012.
Biomedical Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University PhD Studentship- The effects of cannabinoids on chondrocyte metabolism: Bunning RAD, Le Maitre CL, Crawford A. £80,000. October 2010–September 2013.
EPSRC Bridging the Gap- Engineering for Life Sheffield Hallam University Seed Corn Funding: Hydrogel Delivery for the Back. Le Maitre CL, Sammon C. £12,267. August 2010-March 2011.
EPSRC Bridging the Gap- Engineering for Life Sheffield Hallam University Seed Corn Funding: Joints for Life. Smith TJ, Le Maitre CL, Akid R, Haywood Small SL, Sammon C, Ehiasarian AP £20,000. May 2010-April 2011.
Ministry of Health, Saudia Arabia Government: PhD Studentship for Haytham Dahwali- Pomegranate Juice and it's potential for Treatment of Leukaemia. Le Maitre CL, Jordan Mahy NJ, Clench MR. £75,000. March 2009–June 2012.
Ministry of Health, Saudia Arabia Government: PhD Studentship for Rana Zaini- Nutraceutical polyacetylenes and leukaemia. Le Maitre CL, Jordan Mahy NJ, Clench MR. £75,000. March 2009–June 2012.
Funder- ICB Title- The development of new anti-cancer agents from natural products
Dr Christine Le Maitre, Dr Sarah Haywood Small, Dr Nikki Jordan-Mahy, Dr Neil Cross.Value: $13,000. Duration 1 year
BMRC Studentship- Role of Cytokines and Chemokines in the Pathogenesis of Low Back Pain. Le Maitre CL, Cross A, Bunning RAD, Haddock G. £78,500. October 2009–September 2012.
Royal Society- Travel grant for attendance at the orthopedic research society meeting, March 2008. Le Maitre CL £1025.
DISCS- Cellular Senescence in Degeneration of the intervertebral disc. Hoyland JA and Le Maitre CL. £66,087. September 2006–February 2008.
BackCare- Testing the efficacy of differentiated adult stem cells to repopulate the human degenerate intervertebral disc in a loaded environment. Hoyland JA, Le Maitre CL and Freemont AJ. £15,900. September 2006–August 2008.
To date, my work has resulted in 25 peer reviewed publications, 47 published abstracts and a further 40 presentations at national and international conferences.
British Pharmaceutical Society Conference. 7 - 9 September 2009 Nutraceuticals and cancer prevention and treatment.
Dunn SL, Wilkinson JM, Crawford A, Le Maitre CL Bunning RAD (2012). Cannabinoids: novel therapies for arthritis? Future Medicinal Chemistry, 4(6), 713-725
Zaini R, Brandt K, Clench MR, Le Maitre CL (2012). Effects of bioactive compounds from carrots (Daucus carota L.), polyacetylenes, beta-carotene and lutein on human lymphoid leukaemia cells. Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (In Press).
Dahlawi H, Jordan-Mahy-N, Clench MR, LeMaitre CL (2011). Bioactive actions of pomegranate fruit extracts on leukemia cell lines in vitro hold promise for new therapeutic agents for leukemia. Nutrition and Cancer, 1, 11.
Zaini R, Clench M, Le Maitre CL. Bioactive chemicals from carrot (Daucus carota) juice extracts for the treatment of leukemia. Journal of Medicinal Food, 14(11): 1-10.
Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2009). Expression of Cartilage Derived Morphogenetic Protein In Human Intervertebral Discs And Its Effect On Matrix Synthesis In Degenerate Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells. Arthritis Research and Therapy. Sep 15;11(5):R137.
Le Maitre CL, Fotheringham AP, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2009). Development of an in vitro model to test the efficacy of novel therapies for IVD degeneration. Submitted to Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. Vol 3 (6): 461-469.
Le Maitre CL, Baird P, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA. (2009). An in vitro study investigating the survival and phenotype of mesenchymal stem cells following injection into nucleus pulposus tissue. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 11(1):R20.
Pockert A, Richardson S, Le Maitre CL, Lyon M, Deakin J, Buttle DJ, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2009). Modified expression of the ADAMTS enzymes and TIMP-3 during human intervertebral disc degeneration. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 60(2):482-91.
Le Maitre CL, Frain J, Millward Sadler J, Fotheringham AP, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2009). Altered Integrin Mechanotransduction in degenerate human nucleus pulposus cells. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 60(2):460-9.
Heathfield S, Le Maitre CL, Hoyland JA. (2008). Caveolin-1 expression and stress-induced premature senescence in human intervertebral disc degeneration Arthritis Research and Therapy. 5;10(4):R87
Le Maitre CL, Frain J, Fotheringham AP, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA. (2008) Human cells derived from degenerate intervertebral disc respond differently to those derived from non-degenerate intervertebral discs following application of dynamic hydrostatic pressure. Biorheology. 45(5):563-75.
Ali R, Le Maitre CL, Richardson SM, Hoyland JA, Freemont AJ (2008). Connective tissue growth expression in human intervertebral disc implications for angiogenesis in intervertebral disc degeneration. Biotechnic and Histochemistry. 83:5 239-245.
Hoyland JA, Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ (2008). Investigation of the role of IL-1 and TNF in matrix degradation of the intervertebral disc. Rheumatology. 47 (6), 809-814.
Le Maitre CL, Hoyland JA, Freemont AJ.(2007) Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist delivered directly and by gene therapy inhibits matrix degradation in the intact degenerate human intervertebral disc: an in situ-zymographic and gene therapy study. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 9: R83.
Lally S, Mackenzie P, Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ, Saunders BR. (2007). Microgel Particles containing Methacrylic Acid: pH Triggered Swelling Behaviour and Potential for Biomaterial Application. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 316(2):367-75.
Le Maitre CL, Hoyland JA, Freemont AJ. (2007) Catabolic cytokine expression in human IVD degeneration: IL-1β and TNFα expression profile. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 9: R77
Le Maitre CL, Pockert A, Buttle DJ, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2007). Matrix synthesis and degradation in human intervertebral disc degeneration. Biochem Soc Trans. 35(4): 652-655.
Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2007). Accelerated cellular senescence in degenerate intervertebral discs: A possible role in the pathogenesis of intervertebral disc degeneration. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 9: R45.
Saunders JM, Tong T, Le Maitre CL, Freemont TJ, Saunders BR (2007). A study of pH-responsive microgel dispersions: from fluid-to-gel transitions to mechanical property restoration for load-bearing tissue. Soft Matter 3 (4): 486-494
Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2006). Human disc degeneration is associated with increased MMP 7 expression. Biotechnic and Histochemistry. 81(4-6):125-31.
Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2006). An preliminary in vitro study into the use of IL-1Ra gene therapy for the inhibition of intervertebral disc degeneration. International Journal of experimental Pathology. 87(1): 17-28.
Le Maitre CL, Richardson SMA, Baird P, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2005). Expression of receptors for putative anabolic growth factors in human intervertebral disc: implications for repair and regeneration of the disc. Journal of Pathology.207: 445-452.
Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA. (2005) The Role of Interleukin 1 (IL-1) in the pathogenesis of human Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. Arthritis Research and Therapy.7: R732-R745.
Le Maitre CL, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA (2004) Localization of degradative enzymes and their inhibitors in the degenerate human intervertebral disc. Journal of Pathology 204: 47-54.
Le Maitre CL, Hoyland JA, Freemont AJ (2004) Studies of Human Intervertebral Disc Cell Function in a Constrained In Vitro Tissue Culture System. Spine 29 (11): 1187-1195.
Freemont AJ, Watkins A, Le Maitre C, Baird P, Jezioska M, Knight MTN, Ross ERs, O'Brien JP, Hoyland JA (2002) Nerve growth factor expression and innervation of the painful intervertebral disc. Journal of pathology. 197 (3): 286-292.
Freemont AJ, Watkins A, Le Maitre C, Jeziorska M, Hoyland JA (2002) Current understanding of cellular and molecular events in intervertebral disc degeneration: implications for therapy. Journal of pathology. 196 (4): 374-379.
Freemont AJ, Le Maitre C, Watkins A, Hoyland JA (2001) Degeneration of intervertebral discs: current understanding of cellular and molecular events, and implications for novel therapies. Expert reviews in molecular medicine. 29: 1-10.
Le Maitre CL, Byers RJ, Yin JAL, Hoyland JA, Freemont AJ (2001) Dual colour FISH in paraffin wax embedded bone trephines for identification of numerical and structural chromosomal abnormalities in acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplasia. Journal of Clinical Pathology. 14 (9) : 730-733