The Degenerated Lumbar Intervertebral Disc is Innervated Primarily by Peptide-Containing Sensory Nerve Fibers in Humans.

Ozawa, Tomoyuki MD;  Ohtori, Seiji MD;  Inoue, Gen MD;  Aoki, Yasuchika MD;  Moriya, Hideshige MD;  Takahashi, Kazuhisa MD

The purpose of this study was to determine the type of sensory fibers innervating human degenerated lumbar intervertebral discs.  A degenerated, painful lumbar intervertebral disc was harvested from each of 8 patients during surgery. Sections were immunostained for protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5, a general neuronal marker), CGRP, and IB4.  The results show that PGP 9.5-immunoreactive fibers were observed in all discs. Nerve fibers immunoreactive for CGRP were also observed in 6 of 8 cases. IB4-binding nerve fibers were not found in any case.  The authors conclude that almost all of the nociceptive nerve fibers in the human intervertebral disc are peptide-containing nerve fibers suggesting that nerve fibers related to inflammation may transmit pain originating from human degenerated intervertebral discs.

Spine.    31(21):2418-2422, October 1, 2006.

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Neck Pain

Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.

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