Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Signalling pathways activated in intervertebral disc cells

As disc is an avascular tissue maintenance and repair processes depend on the secretion of autocrine and paracrine growth factors. In addition, an important question for understanding the role of mechanical forces in disc homeostasis is the ability of the latter to induce growth factor secretion. To this end, we have studied the role of exogenous and autocrine growth factors on disc cell proliferation and the signalling cascades involved. Known growth factors, whose expression was identified in discs by immunocytochemical studies, such as PDGF, basic FGF, IGF-I and TGF-β, were found to regulate cell proliferation; their effect seems to be determined by the presence of extracellular matrix components. Intracellular signaling pathways mediating these actions, e.g. MAPK, PI-3-K/Akt or Smads, have been also studied. Preliminary data inducate the central role of the PI-3K/Akt pathway in the proliferative response of disc cells. Furthermore, we showed that extreme stressful conditions of pH, osmolarity or oxygen tension strongly inhibit disc cell proliferation.

Reported by

National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos"
T. Patriarchou Grigoriou, Ag. Paraskevi
153 10 Athens
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