Long non-coding RNAs in nucleus pulposus cell function and intervertebral disc degeneration

Zheng Li, Xingye Li, Chong Chen, Shugang Li, Jianxiong Shen, Gary Tse, Matthew T.V. Chan, William K.K. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is the major cause of low back pain which incurs a significant public-health and economic burden. The aetiology of IDD is complex, with developmental, genetic, biomechanical and biochemical factors contributing to the disease development. Deregulated phenotypes of nucleus pulposus cells, including aberrant differentiation, apoptosis, proliferation and extracellular matrix deposition, are involved in the initiation and progression of IDD. Non-coding RNAs, including long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), have recently been identified as important regulators of gene expression. Research into their roles in IDD has been very active over the past 5 years. Our review summarizes current research regarding the roles of deregulated lncRNAs (eg, RP11-296A18.3, TUG1, HCG18) in modulating nucleus pulposus cell functions in IDD. These exciting findings suggest that specific modulation of lncRNAs or their downstream signalling pathways might be an attractive approach for developing novel therapeutics for IDD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12483
JournalCell Proliferation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cell death
  • extracellular matrix
  • low back pain
  • pathogenesis
  • prolapsed disc


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