Chinese Journal of Tissue Engineering Research ›› 2024, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (18): 2918-2924.doi: 10.12307/2024.060

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Research status of traditional Chinese medicine monomer mediating related signaling pathways in treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration

Yang Yunyun1, Chen Qiqing2, Zhao Jirong1, Zhu Bao2, Ma Dong1, Huang Junkai1, An Dehao1, Zou Jipeng1, Liu Weihang3   

  1. 1Gansu University of Chinese Medicine, Lanzhou 730030, Gansu Province, China; 2Gansu Provincial Hospital of TCM, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China; 3Yi County Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yi County 074200, Hebei Province, China
  • Received:2023-02-28 Accepted:2023-05-10 Online:2024-06-28 Published:2023-08-26
  • Contact: Chen Qiqing, MD, Associate chief physician, Master’s supervisor, Gansu Provincial Hospital of TCM, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
  • About author:Yang Yunyun, Master candidate, Gansu University of Chinese Medicine, Lanzhou 730030, Gansu Province, China
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81760877 (to ZJR); Gansu Provincial Major Science and Technology Project, No. 21ZD4FA009 (to ZJR); Gansu Provincial Innovation Base and Talent Plan - Natural Science Foundation, No. 17JR5RA051 (to CQQ); Gansu Provincial Hospital of TCM Doctoral Scientific Research Initiation Fund, No. 2018-01 (to CQQ); National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine Project, No. [2023]24 (to CQQ)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Intervertebral disk degeneration is a pathological change caused by a series of complex molecular mechanisms that result in the aging and damage of intervertebral discs, ultimately leading to severe clinical symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine has unique advantages in the treatment of intervertebral disk degeneration due to its low cost, non-addictive nature, multi-target effects, minimally toxic and side effects, and high patient acceptance.
OBJECTIVE: To review the latest research results of traditional Chinese medicine monomer intervention-related signaling pathways in the treatment of intervertebral disk degeneration, describe and analyze the action mechanism of traditional Chinese medicine monomer on intervertebral disk degeneration, and provide a new approach and theoretical basis for future basic research and clinical treatment. 
METHODS: The first author searched for relevant literature from January 2018 to February 2023 in CNKI, PubMed, VIP, and WanFang using the search terms “intervertebral disc, signal pathway”. The articles that did not meet the criteria were excluded after preliminary screening of the titles and abstracts. Finally, 72 articles were selected for review and analysis.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Traditional Chinese medicine monomers can regulate multiple classical signaling pathways such as Wnt/β-catenin, PI3K/Akt, mTOR, NF-κB, and MAPK. They achieve this by regulating oxidative stress, adjusting the expression of pro/anti-apoptotic proteins in cells, stimulating cellular autophagy function, reducing stimulation of cell inflammatory factors, increasing the expression of extracellular matrix markers, reducing the production of matrix-degrading enzymes, maintaining the synthesis and stability of extracellular matrix, inducing differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells in the nucleus pulposus into nucleus pulposus cells, promoting endogenous repair and reconstruction, controlling apoptosis and aging of nucleus pulposus cells, and increasing the activity of nucleus pulposus cells. These actions improve the microenvironment within the intervertebral disc, maintain the normal physiological function of the intervertebral disc, and delay intervertebral disc degeneration.

Key words: intervertebral disc degeneration, nucleus pulposus cell, extracellular matrix, Chinese herbal medicine, signaling pathway, endogenous repair, review

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