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Neurosurg Focus. 2011 Mar;30(3):E6. doi: 10.3171/2010.12.FOCUS10271.

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament: genetics and pathophysiology.

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Harvard-M.I.T. Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a disease of progressive ectopic calcification of the PLL of the spine. It occurs most frequently in the cervical spine, followed by the thoracic spine. The disease was first described in the Japanese population, and the prevalence of OPLL is highest in Japan at a rate of 1.9%-4.3%. Note, however, that OPLL is also seen and is a known cause of cervical myelopathy in other Asian countries and in the white population. Research into the underlying cause of OPLL over the past few decades has shown that it is a multifactorial disease with significant genetic involvement. Genetic studies of OPLL have revealed several gene loci that may be involved in the pathogenesis of this disease. Genes encoding for proteins that process extracellular inorganic phosphate, collagen fibrils, and transcription factors involved in osteoblast and chondrocyte development and differentiation have all been implicated in the pathophysiology of OPLL. In this paper, the authors review current understanding of the genetics and pathophysiology of OPLL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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