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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Jun 2021 - 18 Jun 2021

Animal Studies

2021 Jun 08

Spine J

Exercise attenuates low back pain and alters epigenetic regulation in intervertebral discs in a mouse model.


Kawarai Y, Jang S H, Lee S H, Millecamps M, Kang HM, Gregoire S, Suzuki-Narita M, Ohtori S, Stone LS
Spine J. 2021 Jun 08.
PMID: 34116218.


Chronic low back pain (LBP) is a multifactorial disorder with complex underlying mechanisms, including associations with intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration in some individuals. It has been demonstrated that epigenetic processes are involved in the pathology of IVD degeneration. Epigenetics refers to several mechanisms, including DNA methylation, that have the ability to change gene expression without inducing any change in the underlying DNA sequence. DNA methylation can alter the entire state of a tissue for an extended period of time and thus could potentially be harnessed for long-term pain relief. Lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, have a strong influence on epigenetic regulation. Exercise is a commonly prescribed treatment for chronic LBP, and sex-specific epigenetic adaptations in response to endurance exercise have been reported. However, whether exercise interventions that attenuate LBP are associated with epigenetic alterations in degenerating IVDs has not been evaluated.