eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) eCM Open Access Scientific Journal
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2021   Volume No 41 – pages 370-387

Title: Intervertebral disc degeneration and regeneration: a motion segment perspective

Authors: B Ashinsky, HE Smith, RL Mauck, SE Gullbrand

Address: Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Centre, Research, Building 21, Rm A214, 3900 Woodland Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

E-mail: sgullb at

Abstract: Back and neck pain have become primary reasons for disability and healthcare spending globally. While the causes of back pain are multifactorial, intervertebral disc degeneration is frequently cited as a primary source of pain. The annulus fibrosus (AF) and nucleus pulposus (NP) subcomponents of the disc are common targets for regenerative therapeutics. However, disc degeneration is also associated with degenerative changes to adjacent spinal tissues, and successful regenerative therapies will likely need to consider and address the pathology of adjacent spinal structures beyond solely the disc subcomponents. This review summarises the current state of knowledge in the field regarding associations between back pain, disc degeneration, and degeneration of the cartilaginous and bony endplates, the AF-vertebral body interface, the facet joints and spinal muscles, in addition to a discussion of regenerative strategies for treating pain and degeneration from a whole motion segment perspective.

Key Words: Nucleus pulposus, annulus fibrosus, cartilage endplate, interface, facet, spinal muscle, tissue engineering, physical therapy.

Publication date: March 24th 2021

Article download: Pages 370-387 (PDF file)

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