About this Research Topic
Intervertebral disc (IVD) is a fibrocartilage that lies between bony vertebral bodies, conferring flexibility, load transfer, and energy dissipation to the spine. It is comprised of the central gelatinous nucleus pulposus (NP) surrounded circumferentially by the annulus fibrosus (AF). IVD with the adjacent vertebra, endplate, facet joints, and paravertebral muscle together form the unique and important unit, the FUNCTIONAL SPINAL UNIT (FSU), the integrity of which maintains not only the spinal biomechanical steady and flexibility, but also protects and provides environment for cellular and extracellular metabolism homeostasis. The disruption of FSU caused by aging, traumatic injuries, physical and chemical toxicity, etc. is widely recognized as the most important contributor to low back pain. Low back pain is a common clinical problem that imposes a tremendous socioeconomic burden on the society. Most people older than 65 years in industrialized countries suffer from back pain, which cost over $100 billion in the US alone. Currently available treatment only provides symptomatic relief from pain through physical therapy, and modification surgical operation. These interventions cannot decelerate or prevent the progression of disruption.
This Research Topic aims to gain a deep understanding of FSU development progress, physiology homeostasis, and repair mechanism following any types of degeneration or injuries. We also sought to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of low back pain with potential basic and pre-clinical therapeutic approaches including but are not limited to biomaterials, small molecule compounds, cells, exosomes and gene delivery strategy.
All Original Research Articles and Reviews that focus on, but are not limited to, the topics mentioned below are welcome:
- Development of FSU compartment and cellular origin
- Interaction between FSU and peripheral and central nervous system
- Immune cells involved in the pathologic process of IVD
- The heterogeneity of multicellular component of FSU
- Biomechanical and microenvironment
- Endogenous repair
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.