Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Therapeutic Hope For Degenerative Disc Disease

Date:
November 30, 2006
Source:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Summary:
For some domestic mammals, including sheep, goats and dogs, the occurrence of degenerative disc disease is extremely rare. Intrigued by this fact and how it might apply to humans, researchers in Toronto, Canada, decided to conduct a gene expression study on intervertebral discs from canines.

Degenerative disc disease is one of today's most common and costly medical conditions. Marked by the gradual erosion of cartilage between the vertebrae, this destructive disease of the spine routinely provokes low back pain, the leading cause of disability in people under age 45 in the United States. This condition is also confounding: the factors that account for the vulnerability of the disc to degeneration and the limited capacity of the disc for repair remain largely unknown.

Related Articles


For some domestic mammals, including sheep, goats, and dogs, the occurrence of degenerative disc disease is extremely rare. Intrigued by this fact and how it might apply to humans, researchers in Toronto, Canada, decided to conduct a gene expression study on intervertebral discs from canines. Their results, presented in the December 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, shed light on the regenerative potential of early embryonic cells within the disc nucleus.

The evolutionary precursor to the backbone, the notochord is a fine, flexible chord defining the body axis in the early embryos of all vertebrates. In certain breeds of dogs, notochord cells remain vibrant in the intervertebral disc into adulthood. Does the degree of biochemical protection notochord cells provide explain the difference in susceptibility to degenerative disc disease between canines and humans? For answers, the researchers examined samples of notochord cells from adult dogs, with attention to their effect on the regulation of important genes in chondrocytes, or cells found in cartilage.

What the researchers found was compelling: notochord cells secrete connective tissue growth factor (CTGF)--a recently characterized protein with multifunctional anabolic properties. CTGF gene expression was also found in cell cultures taken from the intervertebral discs of chondrodystrophic canines--dog breeds closer to humans in musculoskeletal terms. But the population of notochord cells was much larger in nonchondrodystrophic dogs. "Our results suggest that nonchondrodystrophic canines are protected against the development of degenerative disc disease because their discs contain an abundance of notochord cells that secrete a key anabolic factor, CTGF," states the study's senior author, Robert D. Inman, MD, Toronto Western Research Institute. "These findings provide insight into the biology of the intervertebral disc," he further notes, "and raise the possibility of future novel therapeutic options for this disabling condition."

But are there notochord cells within the mammalian adult spine? And if they do, what distinguishes them from spinal tissue? These are among the critical questions Juergen A. Mollenhauer, PhD, raises in his editorial on the notochord study. As he observes, the assumption that adult humans do not possess notochord cells may be biased by the lack of investigations on healthy human spinal discs. "Taken together, the currently known facts evoke hopes for a regenerative reservoir," Dr. Mollenhauer adds, with a firm emphasis on the need for more research. "Whether notochord cells can be preserved or reactivated remains to be resolved in the future."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "New Therapeutic Hope For Degenerative Disc Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129093831.htm>.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. (2006, November 30). New Therapeutic Hope For Degenerative Disc Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129093831.htm
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "New Therapeutic Hope For Degenerative Disc Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129093831.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins