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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012, Article ID 897183, 9 pages
Review Article

Growth Factors and Anticatabolic Substances for Prevention and Management of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration

1Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Campus Bio-Medico, University of Rome, Via Álvaro del Portillo 200, 00128 Rome, Italy
2Centro Integrato di Ricerca (CIR), Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Via Álvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome, Italy
3Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Mile End Hospital, 275 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DG, UK

Received 25 July 2011; Accepted 12 September 2011

Academic Editor: Wasim S. Khan

Copyright © 2012 Umile Giuseppe Longo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is frequent, appearing from the second decade of life and progressing with age. Conservative management often fails, and patients with IVD degeneration may need surgical intervention. Several treatment strategies have been proposed, although only surgical discectomy and arthrodesis have been proved to be predictably effective. Biological strategies aim to prevent and manage IVD degeneration, improving the function and anabolic and reparative capabilities of the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus cells and inhibiting matrix degradation. At present, clinical applications are still in their infancy. Further studies are required to clarify the role of growth factors and anticatabolic substances for prevention and management of intervertebral disc degeneration.