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.