Painful intervertebral disc degeneration and inflammation: from laboratory evidence to clinical interventions

Feng Juan Lyu, Haowen Cui, Hehai Pan, Kenneth MC Cheung, Xu Cao, James C. Iatridis, Zhaomin Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Low back pain (LBP), as a leading cause of disability, is a common musculoskeletal disorder that results in major social and economic burdens. Recent research has identified inflammation and related signaling pathways as important factors in the onset and progression of disc degeneration, a significant contributor to LBP. Inflammatory mediators also play an indispensable role in discogenic LBP. The suppression of LBP is a primary goal of clinical practice but has not received enough attention in disc research studies. Here, an overview of the advances in inflammation-related pain in disc degeneration is provided, with a discussion on the role of inflammation in IVD degeneration and pain induction. Puncture models, mechanical models, and spontaneous models as the main animal models to study painful disc degeneration are discussed, and the underlying signaling pathways are summarized. Furthermore, potential drug candidates, either under laboratory investigation or undergoing clinical trials, to suppress discogenic LBP by eliminating inflammation are explored. We hope to attract more research interest to address inflammation and pain in IDD and contribute to promoting more translational research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalBone Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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