Expression of Fas receptor on disc cells in herniated lumbar disc tissue

J B Park, K W Kim, C W Han, H Chang
Spine 2001 January 15, 26 (2): 142-6

STUDY DESIGN: The expression of Fas receptor, an apoptosis-related protein, on disc cells was examined in surgically obtained disc specimens.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the fate of disc cells in herniated disc tissue and the difference in the degree of expression of the Fas receptor between contained and noncontained discs.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Little is known about the fate of disc cells after herniation.

METHODS: Twenty-three herniated lumbar disc specimens were classified into contained discs (protrusion or subligamentous extrusion; n = 9) and noncontained discs (transligamentous extrusion or sequestration; n = 14). All specimens were stained using the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method. The percentage of disc cells positive for Fas receptor was calculated and compared with clinical and radiologic data.

RESULTS: There was a significant difference in the percentage of Fas-positive disc cells between the contained and noncontained discs (8.44 vs.- 14.29;P = 0.044). The percentage of Fas-positive disc cells correlated significantly with the patient's age (r = 0.455, P = 0.029), but not with the degree of disc degeneration on magnetic resonance imaging (r = 0.252, P = 0.214).

CONCLUSION: This is the first study to identify the expression of Fas receptor on disc cells in herniated disc tissue. The results show that the disc cells after herniation may undergo Fas-mediated apoptosis and that the degree of expression of Fas receptor differs depending on the type of herniation.

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