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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Dec 30;338(4):1890-6. Epub 2005 Nov 10.

CD24 is expressed specifically in the nucleus pulposus of intervertebral discs.

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Department of Cell Differentiation, The Sakaguchi Laboratory, Japan; Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.


Intervertebral disc (IVD) consists of a soft gelatinous material in its center, the nucleus pulposus (NP), bounded peripherally by fibrocartilage, annulus fibrosus (AF). Despite the number of patients with IVD degeneration, gene expression analysis has not been undertaken in NP and therefore little is known about the molecular markers expressed in NP. Here, we undertook a microarray screen in NP with the other nine tissues to identify the specific cell surface markers for NP. Five membrane associating molecules out of 10,490 genes were identified as highly expressing genes in NP compared with the other tissues. Among them, we identified CD24, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor protein as a cell surface marker for NP. CD24 expression was also detected in the herniated NP and chordoma, a malignant primary tumor derived from notochordal cells, while it was absent in chondrosarcoma. Therefore, CD24 is a molecular marker for NP as well as the diseases of IVD.

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