Lumbar intervertebral disc mRNA sequencing identifies the regulatory pathway in patients with disc herniation and spondylolisthesis

Mohamad Bydon, F. M. Moinuddin, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Waseem Wahood, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Anshit Goyal, Mohammed Elminawy, Catalina Galeano-Garces, Amel Dudakovic, Ahmad Nassr, A. Noelle Larson, Andre J. van Wijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a multifaceted progressive condition and often accompanied by disc herniation (DH) and/or degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS). Given the high prevalence of the disease (up to 20% according to some estimates) and the high costs associated with its care, there is a need to explore novel therapies such as regenerative medicine. Exploring these novel therapies first warrants investigation of molecular pathways underlying these disorders. Here, we show results from next generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) on mRNA isolated from 10 human nucleus pulposus (NP) samples of lumbar degenerated discs (DH and DS; n = 5 for each tissue) and other musculoskeletal tissues (Bone, cartilage, growth plate, and muscle; n = 7 for each tissue). Pathway and network analyses based on gene ontology (GO) terms were used to identify the biological functions of differentially expressed mRNAs. A total of 701 genes were found to be significantly upregulated in lumbar NP tissue compared to other musculoskeletal tissues. These differentially expressed mRNAs were primarily involved in DNA damage, immunity and G1/S transition of mitotic cell cycle. Interestingly, DH-specific signaling genes showed major network in chemotactic (e.g., CXCL10, CXCL11, IL1RL2 and IL6) and matrix-degrading pathway (e.g., MMP16, ADAMTSL1, 5, 8, 12, and 15), while DS-specific signaling genes were found to be those involved in cell adhesion (e.g., CDH1, EPHA1 and EFNA2) and inflammatory cytokines (e.g., CD19, CXCL5, CCL24, 25 and XCL2). Our findings provide new leads for therapeutic drug discovery that would permit optimization of medical or pharmacological intervention for cases of lumbar DDD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144634
StatePublished - Aug 5 2020


  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar spine
  • Nucleus pulposus
  • RNAseq
  • mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Lumbar intervertebral disc mRNA sequencing identifies the regulatory pathway in patients with disc herniation and spondylolisthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this