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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