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Proteoglycan Chemistry in Experimentally Injured Porcine Intervertebral Disk

Kääpä E.; Holm, S.; Inkinen, R.; Lammi, M. J.; Tammi, M.; Vanharanta, H.
Clinical Spine Surgery: August 1994


An animal model of disk degeneration was used to study the concentration levels and types of proteoglycans in the different parts of the intervertebral disk. An annular incision was made with a scalpel blade into the anterior part of the porcine lumbar intervertebral disks via a retroperitoneal approach. Three months after injury the morphology of the injured disk had changed considerably. Disk height was diminished, and in the injured segment osteophytes had formed at the ventral edges of the vertebral body. The nucleus was small, fibrous, and yellowish. The annular lesion had healed by formation of granulation tissue, but the lamellar structure was partially destroyed. The concentration of inorganic [35]sulfate had decreased across the whole disk, reflecting a decrease in the rate of solute transport. The concentration of incorporated [35S]sulfate had also decreased in the injured disks. The DNA concentration in the anterior annulus and in the nucleus had increased, whereas both the concentration of uronic acid and the ratio of chondroitin-6-sulfate to chondroitin-4-sulfate in the nucleus had decreased. Agarose gel electrophoresis combined with chondroitinase B digestion suggested the presence of dermatan sulfate proteoglycans in the injured annulus fibrosus. The morphology and chemical composition of the disks adjacent to the injured one were normal, and only a slight increase in the concentration of incorporated [35S]sulfate was observed in the disks above the injured one.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.