Discovery of the drivers of inflammation induced chronic low back pain: from bacteria to diabetes.
Discov Med. 2015 Oct;20(110):177-184
Authors: Gorth DJ, Shapiro IM, Risbud MV
The intervertebral disc is a unique avascular organ that supports axial skeleton flexion and rotation. The high proteoglycan content of the nucleus pulposus tissue, present at the center of the disc, is pivotal for its mechanical function, distribution of compressive loads. Chronic low back pain, a prevalent and costly condition, is strongly associated with disc degeneration. Degenerated discs exhibit high levels of inflammatory cytokines, matrix catabolizing enzymes, and an overall reduction in proteoglycan content. Although the cytokine profile of diseased discs has been widely studied, little is known of what initiates and drives inflammation and subsequent low back pain. Recent studies have shown that anaerobic bacteria are present in a high percentage of painful, herniated discs and long-term treatment with antibiotics resolves symptoms associated with chronic low back pain. It is thought that these anaerobic bacteria in the disc may stimulate inflammation through toll-like receptors to further exacerbate disc degeneration. Despite the promise and novelty of this theory, there are other possible inflammatory mediators that need careful consideration. The metabolic environment associated with diabetes and atypical matrix degradation products also have the ability to activate many of the same inflammatory pathways as seen during microbial infection. It is therefore imperative that the research community must investigate the contribution of all possible drivers of inflammation to address the wide spread problem of discogenic chronic low back pain.
PMID: 26562470 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]