Tumor Necrosis Factor-α-Immunoreactive Cells in Nucleus Pulposus in Adolescent Patients With Lumbar Disc Herniation

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Abstract

Study Design.

Immunohistochemistry for tumor necrosis factor (TNF)–α in nucleus pulposus of adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation.

Objective.

To examine whether an inflammatory cytokine is expressed in the nucleus pulposus of adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation.

Summary of Background Data.

TNFα is thought to play a crucial role in the radicular pain caused by lumbar disc herniation in adult patients. However, the expression of TNFα in the nucleus pulposus of adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation has not been explored.

Methods.

Five samples of nucleus pulposus from adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation (age, 12–16 yr; n = 5) or controls requiring surgery for other back problems (age, 12–16 yr; n = 4; nonpainful scoliosis) were harvested during surgery. Nucleus pulposus specimens were immunostained using TNFα antibodies and immunostained cells in the nucleus pulposus were counted. We compared the expression of TNFα between the 2 groups.

Results.

In patients with lumbar disc herniation, more TNFα-immunoreactive cells were seen in the nucleus pulposus in comparison with patients with nonpainful scoliosis (P < 0.01).

Conclusion.

The results suggest that TNFα may play a role in adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation. The TNFα expression may be related with disc degeneration and pain in adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation.

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