Integrin expression in cells of the intervertebral disc.
In this study, we investigated the profile of integrin expression in human and porcine intervertebral disc tissue. Differences in extracellular matrix composition between anulus fibrosus (AF) and nucleus pulposus (NP) regions of the disc, as well as differences in cellular responses to environmental stimuli, suggest a role for integrins in presenting matrix signals that may mediate these responses. Human disc tissue and porcine AF and NP tissue were stained with antibodies to alpha integrin subunits 1-6, V and IIb, and beta integrin subunits 1-6 and graded for evidence of positive staining on a scale from 0 (no staining) to 3 (high incidence of staining). Human tissue expressed alpha and beta integrin subunits shown to be present in articular cartilage, including alpha(1), alpha(5) and alpha(V). Porcine AF tissue expressed similar integrin subunits to human disc, with both expressing alpha(1), alpha(5), beta(1), beta(3) and beta(5) subunits, whereas porcine NP tissue expressed higher levels of alpha(6), beta(1) and beta(4) than AF tissue. The expressed subunits are known to interact with proteins including collagens, fibronectin and laminin; however, additional studies will be required to characterize the interactions of the integrin subunits with specific matrix constituents, as well as their specific involvement in regulating environmental stimuli.
Nettles, DL; Richardson, WJ; Setton, LA
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