Dimethylmethylene Blue (DMMB) assays were conducted as previously described [18] to quantify sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG) in the conditioned media of IVD pellets with or without o-vanillin treatment. Chondroitin sulfate was used to generate the standard curve. Pooled post-treatment media samples from treated and untreated pellets were used. All samples were ensured to fall into the linear portion of the standard curve. Each sample was placed in triplicate into clear 96-well plates (Costar, Corning, NY, USA). DMMB dye was then added to the wells. The absorbance was measured immediately at room temperature using Tecan Infinite T200 spectrophotometer (Männedorf, Switzerland).

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