Connective tissue growth factor expression in human intervertebral disc: Implications for angiogenesis in intervertebral disc degeneration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is strongly associated with chronic low back pain, one of the most common causes of morbidity in the West. While normal healthy IVD is avascular, angiogenesis is a constant feature of IVD degeneration and has been shown to be associated with in-growth of nerves. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) plays a pivotal role in angiogenesis. To investigate the expression of CTGF in both normal and degenerated IVD, 21 IVDs were obtained from patients at surgery or postmortem examination and grouped according to the severity of histological degeneration. The immunohistochemical expression of CTGF was correlated with the degree of degeneration. CD31 immunohistochemistry was used to correlate IVD degeneration with vasculature. Our results showed that CTGF is expressed in non-degenerated and degenerated human IVDs and increased expression of CTGF is associated with degenerated discs, particularly within areas of neovascularization. We suggest that CTGF may play a role in angiogenesis in the human degenerated IVD.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages6
JournalBiotechnic and Histochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008