Extracellular Matrix and Adhesion Molecule Gene Expression in the Normal and Injured Murine Intervertebral Disc

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To determine the transcription profile of the mouse nucleus pulposus (NP) and annulus fibrosus (AF) with an unbiased method. Furthermore, pathophysiological relevance of selected genes was demonstrated in the mouse tail intervertebral disc (IVD) injury model.


Paired normal mouse NP and AF tissue from C57BL/6j mice was examined by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) array. Key gene expression in the normal and injured IVDs were confirmed by Real-Time PCR.


Among the 84 genes studied, 63 were expressed higher in AF than in NP; only 4 genes were expressed higher in NP than in AF (n=4, p≤0.05). Real-time PCR confirmed that cadherin (cdh)-2 gene expression was higher in NP than in AF, and type I collagen (col1) gene expression was higher in the AF than in NP (n=8, p<0.01). One week after tail IVD injury, cdh2 gene expression decreased while Col1 expression increased (n=8, p<0.01).


This is the first study to examine the relative expression of 84 genes in normal mouse NP and AF. Key genes in the normal and injured mouse IVDs was confirmed with real-time PCR. This information should be useful for studying the mouse model of IVD degeneration, and guide future cell therapy approaches.

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