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J Occup Rehabil. 2014 Jun;24(2):370-81. doi: 10.1007/s10926-013-9472-7.

Matrix metalloproteinase-3, vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms, and occupational risk factors in lumbar disc degeneration.

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Occupational and Environmental Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt,



Lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) is a process that begins early in life, contributing to the development of low back pain. LDD is a consequence of a variety of factors, and its etiology remains poorly understood. Objectives to investigate occupational and genetic risk factors inducing lumbar disc degeneration, and to evaluate the possible association of genetic polymorphisms of matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3) and vitamin D receptor (VDR) with the severity of LDD in an Egyptian population.


A case control study involving 84 LDD and 60 controls was carried out. Five types of work related factors were investigated by questionnaire, complete neurological examination for all subjects and MRI for the cases. Polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism methods were applied to detect polymorphisms in MMP-3 Promoter (-1,171 6A/5A) (rs 731236) and VDR-Apa (rs 35068180).


We found that family history, back injury, smoking, high level of sitting, bending/twisting, physical workload, lifting, whole body vibration, mutant allele 5A of MMP-3 and mutant allele T of VDR were significantly associated with LDD (OR = 2.9, 3.1, 2.1, 11.1, 15.9, 11.7, 8.2, 12.6, 2.5 and 3.1 respectively, p < 0.05). Cases that carry allele 5A and/or allele T were associated with LDD severity.


LDD is closely associated in occurrence and severity with occupational, environmental risk factors and susceptibility genes namely MMP-3, and VDR (ApaI). This study throws light on the importance of screening for early detection of susceptible individuals and disease prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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