Intervertebral disc biology, degeneration and novel tissue engineering and regenerative medicine therapies.

Histol Histopathol. 2007 Sep;22(9):1033-41
Authors: Richardson SM, Mobasheri A, Freemont AJ, Hoyland JA

Degeneration of the intervertebral disc (IVD) is a major cause of low back pain affecting a large percentage of the population at some point in their lives. Consequently IVD degeneration and its associated low back pain has a huge socio-economic impact and places a burden on health services world-wide. Current treatments remove the symptoms without treating the underlying problem and can result in reoccurrence in the same or adjacent discs. Tissue engineering offers hope that new therapies can be developed which can regenerate the IVD. Combined with this, development of novel biomaterials and an increased understanding of mesenchymal stem cell and IVD cell biology mean that tissue engineering of the IVD may soon become a reality. However for any regenerative medicine approach to be successful there must first be an understanding of the biology of the tissue and the pathophysiology of the disease process. This review covers these key areas and gives an overview of the recent developments in the fields of biomaterials, cell biology and tissue engineering of the IVD.

PMID: 17523081 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]