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Papers of the Week

2020 Aug 24

Biomed Pharmacother


The role of IL-1β and TNF-α in intervertebral disc degeneration.


Wang Y, Che M, Xin J, Zheng Z, Li J, Zhang S
Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Aug 24; 131:110660.
PMID: 32853910.


Low back pain (LBP), a prevalent and costly disease around the world, is predominantly caused by intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration (IDD). LBP also presents a substantial burden to public health and the economy. IDD is mainly caused by aging, trauma, genetic susceptibility, and other factors. It is closely associated with changes in tissue structure and function, including progressive destruction of the extracellular matrix (ECM), enhanced senescence, disc cell death, and impairment of tissue biomechanical function. The inflammatory process, exacerbated by cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), are considered to be the key mediators of IDD and LBP. IL-1β and TNF-α are the most important proinflammatory cytokines, as they have powerful proinflammatory activities and can promote the secretion of a variety of proinflammatory mediators. They are also upregulated in the degenerative IVDs, and they are closely related to various pathological IDD processes, including inflammatory response, matrix destruction, cellular senescence, autophagy, apoptosis, pyroptosis, and proliferation. Therefore, anti-IL-1β and anti-TNF-α therapies may have the potential to alleviate disc degeneration and LBP. In this paper, we reviewed the expression pattern and signal transduction pathways of IL-1β and TNF-α, and we primarily focused on their similar and different roles in IDD. Because IL-1β and TNF-α inhibition have the potential to alleviate IDD, an in-depth understanding of the role of IL-1β and TNF-α in IDD will benefit the development of new treatment methods for disc degeneration with IL-1β and TNF-α at the core.