Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2014 Jan;10(1):44-56. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2013.160. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

Role of cytokines in intervertebral disc degeneration: pain and disc content.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Jefferson Medical College, 1025 Walnut Street, 511 College Building, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.

Abstract

Degeneration of the intervertebral discs (IVDs) is a major contributor to back, neck and radicular pain. IVD degeneration is characterized by increases in levels of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-17 secreted by the IVD cells; these cytokines promote extracellular matrix degradation, chemokine production and changes in IVD cell phenotype. The resulting imbalance in catabolic and anabolic responses leads to the degeneration of IVD tissues, as well as disc herniation and radicular pain. The release of chemokines from degenerating discs promotes the infiltration and activation of immune cells, further amplifying the inflammatory cascade. Leukocyte migration into the IVD is accompanied by the appearance of microvasculature tissue and nerve fibres. Furthermore, neurogenic factors, generated by both disc and immune cells, induce expression of pain-associated cation channels in the dorsal root ganglion. Depolarization of these ion channels is likely to promote discogenic and radicular pain, and reinforce the cytokine-mediated degenerative cascade. Taken together, an enhanced understanding of the contribution of cytokines and immune cells to these catabolic, angiogenic and nociceptive processes could provide new targets for the treatment of symptomatic disc disease. In this Review, the role of key inflammatory cytokines during each of the individual phases of degenerative disc disease, as well as the outcomes of major clinical studies aimed at blocking cytokine function, are discussed.

PMID:
24166242
PMCID:
PMC4151534
DOI:
10.1038/nrrheum.2013.160
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center