Key words Intervertebral disc
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We used complete transverse sections through 65 samples of human lumbar intervertebral discs for immunolocalization of the major interstitial collagen types I, II, III, V, VI and IX. The samples were selected from 47 patients ranging in age from 0 (fetuses) to 86 years. The results were compared with the histological findings in disc tissue degeneration and/or reparative alterations as indicated by tear and cleft formation, chondrocyte proliferation, mucous degeneration, granular matrix changes and fibrocartilage fibrillation. We observed a typical pattern for each antibody and each anatomical structure, with, however, remarkable inter- and intraindividual variability, which could be monitored only by use of the complete transverse sections. Accordingly, collagen I was seen in the normal annulus fibrosus and in the degeneratively altered nucleus pulposus, but not within the end-plate, regardless of degenerative changes. Collagens II and IX were found in the normal nucleus pulposus, the inner annulus fibrosus and the end-plate. The collagen II (and IX) staining seemed to be enhanced in areas of minor degenerative lesions, but reduced in advanced lesions and in the degenerated end-plate. Collagens III and VI were significantly increased in areas of minor to advanced degeneration in all anatomical settings, while collagen V showed only minor changes in its staining pattern. In general, histological signs of tissue degeneration coincided with significant quantitative, but also with certain qualitative, changes in the composition of the collagenous disc matrix. These observations indicate the association of degenerative and/or reparative alterations of the intervertebral disc and changes in the collagenous matrix, but document the variability in the extent of the abnormalities observed.
Type of Medium: