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Open Access Research

Expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) in Wistar rat's intervertebral disc after experimentally induced scoliotic deformity

Theodoros B Grivas1*, Elias S Vasiliadis2, Angelos Kaspiris2, Lubna Khaldi3 and Dimitris Kletsas4

Author Affiliations

1 Orthopaedic Department, "Tzanio" General Hospital, Piraeus, Greece

2 Orthopaedic Department, "Thriasio" General Hospital, Athens, Greece

3 Department of Pathology, "A. Fleming" General Hospital, Athens, Greece

4 Laboratory of Cell Proliferation & Ageing, Institute of Biology NCSR "Demokritos", Athens, Greece

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Scoliosis 2011, 6:9  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-6-9

Published: 9 May 2011

Abstract

Introduction

A scoliotic deformity on intervertebral discs may accelerate degeneration at a molecular level with the production of metalloproteinases (MMPs). In the present experimental study we evaluated the presence of MMP-1 immunohistochemically after application of asymmetric forces in a rat intervertebral disc and the impact of the degree of the deformity on MMP-1 expression.

Material-Method

Thirty female Wistar rats (aged 2 months old, weighted 200 ± 10 grams) were used. All animals were age, weight and height matched. A mini Ilizarov external fixator was applied at the base of a rat tail under anaesthesia in order to create a scoliotic deformity of the intervertebral disc between the 9th and 10th vertebrae. Rats were divided into three groups according to the degree of the deformity. In group I, the deformity was 10°, in group II 30° and in group III 50°. The rats were killed 35 days after surgery. The discs were removed along with the neighbouring vertebral bodies, prepared histologically and stained immunohistochemically. Immunopositivity of disc's cells for MMP-1 was determined using a semi-quantitative scored system.

Results

MMP-1 immunopositivity was detected in disc cells of annulus fibrosus of all intervertebral disc specimens examined. The percentage of MMP-1 positive disc cells in annulus fibrosus in group I, II and III were 20%, 43% and 75%, respectively. MMP-1 positivity was significantly correlated with the degree of the deformity (p < 0,001). An increase of chondrocyte-like disc cells was observed in the outer annulus fibrosus and at the margin of the intervertebral disc adjacent to the vertebral end plates. The difference in the proportion of MMP-1 positive disc cells between the convex and the concave side was statistically not significant in group I (p = 0,6), in group II this difference was statistically significant (p < 0,01). In group III the concave side showed a remarkable reduction in the number of disc's cells and a severe degeneration of matrix microstructure.

Conclusion

The present study showed that an experimentally induced scoliotic deformity on a rat tail intervertebral disc results in over-expression of MMP-1, which is dependent on the degree of the deformity and follows a dissimilar distribution between the convex and the concave side.