Sources of lumbar back pain during aging and potential therapeutic targets

T. Peter Li, Amit Jain, Xu Cao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Lumbar back pain during aging is a major clinical problem, the origins and underlying mechanisms of which are challenging to study. Degenerative changes occur in various parts of the functional spinal unit, such the vertebral endplate and intervertebral disc. The homeostasis of these structural components is regulated by signaling molecules, such as transforming growth factor–β and parathyroid hormone. Previous efforts to understand sources of lumbar back pain focused on sensory innervation in the degenerative intervertebral disc, but intervertebral disc degeneration is frequently asymptomatic. An in vivo mouse model of lumbar spine aging and degeneration, combined with genetic technology, has identified endplate innervation as a major source of lumbar back pain and a potential therapeutic target. In this review, we consider how each structural component of the functional spinal unit contributes to lumbar back pain, how the homeostasis of each component is regulated, and how these findings can be used to develop potential therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHormones and Aging
EditorsGerald Litwack
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780323855488
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Publication series

NameVitamins and Hormones
ISSN (Print)0083-6729


  • Aging spine
  • Functional spinal unit
  • Hormonal regulation
  • Lumbar back pain
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Spinal hypersensitivity
  • Spine degeneration
  • Vertebral endplate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sources of lumbar back pain during aging and potential therapeutic targets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this