Navigation Links
Surprising find may yield new avenue of treatment for painful herniated discs
Date:6/28/2010

DURHAM, N.C. -- An immune cell known to cause chronic inflammation in autoimmune disorders has been identified as a possible culprit in low back pain associated with herniated discs, according to doctors at Duke University Medical Center.

The finding implicates the cytokine molecule interleukin-17, and supports the burgeoning theory that an immune response plays a significant role in disc disease, says William J. Richardson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Duke. It may also open the door for new, therapeutic approaches that target a specific immune response in hopes of halting disc destruction, and possibly reversing the disease process.

"By identifying the specific subpopulation of lymphocytes (immune cells that are excited into action by the cytokine), it may soon be possible to arrest the body's inflammatory response to disc cells," says Richardson, senior author of the research published online this week in the July issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism. Doing so could reduce the painful inflammation associated with degenerative disc disease, and halt the evolution of arthritis. It may also reduce the need for back surgery.

"Mechanical forces may initiate the degenerative process, but biochemical inflammatory changes certainly play a role in disc pathology," says the study's first author, Mohammed Shamji, MD, PhD, senior neurosurgery resident at The Ottawa Hospital, Ontario, Canada, who participated in the research while at Duke. Decreasing the inflammation may arrest or reverse the patient's disease process and perhaps reduce the need for surgery. "Now we are learning which pathways we have to block."

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care, and both degenerative and herniated discs -- also referred to as slipped discs or ruptured discs -- are common causes of that pain. The economic impact of medical care for herniated discs in the U.S. is estimated to be as high as $200 billion per year.

Herniated discs occur when the tough outer layer of cartilage cracks, allowing pieces of the softer inner material to protrude into the spinal canal. Until recently, it was thought that pain occurs when the material touches a nerve. Now doctors believe the pain is the result of an immune response caused by the presence of inflammatory cells.

"The center of the disc is immune-privileged since it has never been exposed to the immune system," says Shamji. When a disc is injured or degenerates, the body reacts against the invading inner material as it would against any virus or foreign body, and launches a response targeted at destruction. The nerve root, which is present near the protruding disc material, becomes painfully inflamed, swollen and damaged during that cascade of events.

In recent years, several anti-immune therapies, including steroids, have been injected into the space between the disc and the nerve, but with limited success, doctors say, because they don't target a specific immune response, and because low doses are used to minimize potentially serious side effects that include a higher predisposition to infection, activation of tuberculosis and a six-fold increase in lymphoma incidence.

The identification of IL-17 in the cascade of events is significant, Shamji says. "It's a product of a specific subgroup of immune cells that are involved in auto immune phenomena like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, but not in the body's response against infection or tumor. If you target this specific lymphocyte, you may avoid compromising the body's ability to protect itself against infection or tumor."

Researchers say they're still several steps away from human studies of IL-17 blockers currently in development.


'/>"/>

Contact: Debbe Geiger
Debbe.Geiger@duke.edu
919-660-9461
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Anger Spurs Surprising Changes in the Body
2. Stanford/Packard study finds surprising disparity in where chronically ill kids hospitalized
3. Cosmetic Surgery Error in New York Strikes Medical Malpractice Lawyers as Unsurprising
4. Frequent and Fabulous Sex -- A Menopausal Woman's Surprising Fountain of Youth
5. U-M Study Reveals Surprising Lack of Genetic Diversity in the Most Widely Used Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
6. Brain MRI in children: Incidental findings yield disclosure dilemmas for doctors, patients
7. In infant heart surgery, newer technique yields better survival in first year of life
8. Phase II study of an oral therapy for Gaucher disease yields positive results
9. Pigs Yield Clues to Cystic Fibrosis-Related Lung Disease
10. Glued graft for Pterygium Yield Better Cosmetic Results
11. Safety and diagnosis yield of colonoscopy in Hong Kong Chinese children
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... ... who like to educate themselves on current issues and who enjoy gaining knowledge on ... to appreciate and love the "Informed" series, hosted by Rob Lowe. A new ... the world. , Running for charity has become a multi-million dollar enterprise ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... Empower Brokerage, located in Southlake, Texas, ... programs. , In February, 2017, Empower Brokerage introduced their new “Performance Partners” program ... to teach how to maximize their sales efforts, as well as how to ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... “Finding Christ Through Social ... devotional journal chronicling the writer’s path toward true communion with God. “Finding Christ ... #TruthwithGrace” is the creation of published author Lea Michelle Johnson, a follower of ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... ... and Harvest A Cultivation of Christian Love” is the creation of published author, David ... wife, Anna Marie. He and his wife are the proud parents of four grown ... “Shadow and Substance.” , “Love, the agape kind, is seen as more than an ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... , ... “The Adventures of Joey, The Dog Who Barks at Puddles”: a ... to the fullest, as God intended. “The Adventures of Joey, The Dog Who Barks ... pursuing her passion for writing, especially about truth and human behavior. , Published by ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 New England ... recipient of an award including funding and in-kind service ... draw technology.  "Making blood draws less ... making their whole hospital experience better.  We,re looking forward ... technology can help improve care for the kids we ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... YORK , March 24, 2017   ... leading organization within medical affairs in the pharmaceutical ... as the chair of a newly formed scientific ... board members to form the first ever medical ... For more information about the ACMA, please ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... - 2035" report to their offering. ... The Deep Learning: Drug Discovery and Diagnostics ... the growing market of deep learning solutions within the healthcare domain. ... emerged as a novel solution to generate relevant insights from medical ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: