OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the expression characteristics of lamin A/C proteins in intervertebral disc degeneration (IVD) specimens from patients with different degeneration grades. Lamin A/C proteins have been shown to result in age-related changes in the osteoarticular system. However, the expression characteristics of these nuclear proteins in degenerated human IVD tissues have not been explored previously.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Degenerated human IVD tissues were obtained during spinal surgery. Articular cartilage samples after total knee replacement surgery were used as controls. Sections of these tissues were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, Masson, safranin O, and immunostained using lamin A/C antibody. Western blot was performed to evaluate lamin A/C expression in IVD tissues. Lamin A/C expression was analyzed based on different degeneration grades.
RESULTS: In patients with IVD degeneration, mild or moderate degenerative discs contained high amounts of lamin A/C proteins. Lamin A/C expression was primarily localized in the nuclear envelope of IVD cells, and associated with apoptosis in cell nuclei, as determined by immunostaining and TUNEL assay.
CONCLUSIONS: This paper is the first to report that lamin A/C proteins are present in IVD tissues and its expression may be related to disc degeneration.