JOURNAL ARTICLE

Expression of Fas ligand and apoptosis of disc cells in herniated lumbar disc tissue

J B Park, H Chang, K W Kim
Spine 2001 March 15, 26 (6): 618-21
11246372

STUDY DESIGN: An examination of surgically obtained herniated lumbar disc tissues performed by using immunohistochemical staining and the DNA nick end labeling method.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the cell type that expresses Fas ligand (FasL) and any evidence of apoptosis of the disc cells in herniated lumbar disc tissues.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The Fas/FasL system is involved in delivering a death signal that rapidly commits the cells to apoptosis. In the authors' previous study, the expression of Fas on disc cells was identified in herniated lumbar disc tissue.

METHODS: Twenty-three herniated lumbar disc tissues (contained disc, n = 9; noncontained disc, n = 14) were examined to investigate the cell type that expresses FasL and any evidence of apoptosis of the disc cells by using immunohistochemical staining and the DNA nick end labeling method, respectively. The percentage of FasL-positive disc cells was calculated and compared with clinical and radiologic data.

RESULTS: FasL was expressed in the cytoplasm of the disc cells, and nuclear DNA fragmentation in a few disc cells was identified. A higher degree of FasL expression in disc cells was found in noncontained discs than in contained discs (P < 0.05). The percentage of FasL-positive disc cells significantly increased with the patient's age (P < 0.05), but not with the degree of disc degeneration (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The current results indicate that disc cells, after herniation, undergo apoptotic cell death via autocrine or paracrine FasL mechanisms by the disc cells themselves.

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