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Biochemical composition and turnover of the extracellular matrix of the normal and degenerate intervertebral disc

Sivan, Sarit Sara, Hayes, Anthony Joseph, Wachtel, Ellen, Caterson, Bruce ORCID:, Merkher, Yulia, Maroudas, Alice, Brown, Sharon and Roberts, Sally 2014. Biochemical composition and turnover of the extracellular matrix of the normal and degenerate intervertebral disc. European Spine Journal 23 (3) , pp. 344-353. 10.1007/s00586-013-2767-8

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Background The intervertebral disc (IVD) is a complex cartilaginous structure which functions to resist biomechanical loads during spinal movement. It consists of the highly viscous cartilaginous nucleus pulposus, which is surrounded laterally by a thick outer ring of fibrous cartilage—the annulus fibrosus—and sandwiched inferiorly and superiorly by the cartilage end-plates. The main extracellular matrix molecules of the disc are collagens, proteoglycans, glycoproteins and elastin. The disc also contains appreciable amounts of water, matrix-degrading protease enzymes and their inhibitors, soluble signalling molecules and various metabolic breakdown products. Methods This review provides a comprehensive description of the biochemical composition of the extracellular matrix of the IVD and, specifically, the proteases involved in its molecular turnover. Quantitation of the turnover rates using racemization of aspartic acid as a molecular clock is also discussed. Conclusions Molecular turnover rates of the major constituent matrix macromolecules of the IVD are found to be particularly slow, especially in the case of collagen. Over a normal human life span, this slow turnover may compromise the structural integrity of the IVD extracellular matrix essential for normal physiological functioning.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISSN: 0940-6719
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2022 08:51

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