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Biologic Modification of Animal Models of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration
James W. LarsonIII, MD; Eric A. Levicoff, MD; Lars G. Gilbertson, PhD; James D. Kang, MD
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In support of their research for or preparation of this manuscript, one or more of the authors received grants or outside funding from Medtronic Sofamor Danek. None of the authors received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2006 Apr 01;88(suppl 2):83-87. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.00043
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Intervertebral disc degeneration is a chronic process that can become manifest in clinical disorders such as idiopathic low back pain, sciatica, disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and myelopathy. The limited available treatment options (including discectomy and spinal fusion) for these and other disabling conditions that arise from intervertebral disc degeneration are highly invasive, achieve limited success, and only address acute symptoms while doing nothing to halt the process of degeneration. Although the precise pathophysiology of intervertebral disc degeneration has yet to be clearly delineated, the progressive decline in aggrecan, the primary proteoglycan of the nucleus pulposus, appears to be a final common pathway. Animal models as well as in vitro studies of the process of disc degeneration have yielded many potentially useful targets for the reversal of disc degeneration. One current research trend is the use of established animal models of disc degeneration to study the role of therapeutic modalities in reversing the process of degeneration, often with use of the delivery of genes or gene products that influence the anabolic and catabolic pathways of the disc. This article reviews the ability of gene-product delivery systems and gene therapy to alter biologic processes in animal models of disc degeneration and examines future trends in this field.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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