3 years ago

Developmental mechanisms of intervertebral disc and vertebral column formation

Developmental mechanisms of intervertebral disc and vertebral column formation
Brian D. Harfe, Lisa Y. Lawson
The vertebral column consists of repeating units of ossified vertebrae that are adjoined by fibrocartilagenous intervertebral discs. These structures form from the embryonic notochord and somitic mesoderm. In humans, congenital malformations of the vertebral column include scoliosis, kyphosis, spina bifida, and Klippel Feil syndrome. In adulthood, a common malady affecting the vertebral column includes disc degeneration and associated back pain. Indeed, recent reports estimate that low back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide. Our review provides an overview of the molecular mechanisms underlying vertebral column morphogenesis and intervertebral disc development and maintenance, with an emphasis on what has been gleaned from recent genetic studies in mice. The aim of this review is to provide a developmental framework through which vertebral column formation can be understood so that ultimately, research scientists and clinicians alike can restore disc health with appropriately designed gene and cell-based therapies. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Formation of the intervertebral discs from the embryonic notochord and somites.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/wdev.283

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