Proteoglycan synthesis in the human intervertebral disc: Variation with age, region and pathology

Michael T. Bayliss, Brian Johnstone, John P. O'brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Slices of human annulus fibrosus were cultured under conditions that controlled their hydration and prevented loss of proteoglycans from the extracellular matrix. A quantitative analysis of proteoglycan synthesis was carried out. Both the absolute rate of synthesis and the topographicaf variation in chondrocyte activity changed with age; the most active cells in the adult were found In the mid-annuius region, whereas in the fetal disc the cells in the inner annujus were the most active. The conditions under which the tissue was stored, and changes in hydration during culture, had considerable effects on synthesis. Pathological discs had a wide range of biological activity that reflected the heterogeneous properties of these specimens. It Is suggested that this culture method provides a means of investigating the way In which the synthesis of the macromolecular components of the intervertebral disc are coordinated and subsequently incorporated into the extracellular matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)972-981
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1988


  • Ageing
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Low-back pain
  • Proteoglycans
  • Swelling pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Proteoglycan synthesis in the human intervertebral disc: Variation with age, region and pathology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this