The degenerative disease of the intervertebral disc (IVD) and back pain are chronic conditions that are caused by several factors and represent an important cause of morbidity and mortality in everyday clinical practice. The IVD comprises three regions: the bony and cartilaginous endplates (EPs) sandwiching the central nucleus pulposus (NP) and the peripheral annulus fibrosus (AF). IVD degeneration can be described as an aberrant, cell-mediated response to progressive structural failure of the IVD, involving pathological changes in all of the aforementioned structures. Because of the poor self-repair ability of the IVD tissue, there is no satisfactory way to reverse the IVD degeneration, and current treatment approaches are mostly salvage strategies. Techniques of regenerative therapy are very promising, although most of them are currently in the experimental phase. Ideal IVD regenerative therapies aim to restore the functional disc matrix, and the prospective approaches include biotechnology, tissue engineering, and novel surgical Interventions. In this special issue, we solicit original research articles and review articles focusing on pathogenesis of IVD degeneration and how to overcome the obstacles of IVD regeneration by developing innovative therapeutic strategies, especially regarding biotechnology, tissue engineering, and surgical Interventions. We hope that this proposal will foster discussion between researchers about the factors initiating disc degenerative processes and the promising therapeutic strategies to help IVD regeneration.
Dr. Pei Li and Dr. Yiyang Wang
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