Effects of Oxidative Stress on Mitochondrial Functions and Intervertebral Disc Cells

ZHOU Hao, CHEN Tao, WU Aimin


Intervertebral disc degeneration is widely recognized as one of the main causes of lower back pain. Intervertebral disc cells are the primary cellular components of the discs, responsible for synthesizing and secreting collagen and proteoglycans to maintain the structural and functional stability of the discs. Additionally, intervertebral disc cells are involved in maintaining the nutritional and metabolic balance, as well as exerting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects within the intervertebral discs. Consequently, intervertebral disc cells play a crucial role in the process of disc degeneration. When these cells are exposed to oxidative stress, mitochondria can be damaged, which may disrupt normal cellular function and accelerate degenerative changes. Mitochondria serve as the powerhouse of cells, being the primary energy-producing organelles that control a number of vital processes, such as cell death. On the other hand, mitochondrial dysfunction may be associated with various degenerative pathophysiological conditions. Moreover, mitochondria are the key site for oxidation-reduction reactions. Excessive oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species can negatively impact on mitochondrial function, potentially leading to mitochondrial damage and impaired functionality. These factors, in turn, triggers inflammatory responses, mitochondrial DNA damage, and cell apoptosis, playing a significant role in the pathological processes of intervertebral disc cell degeneration. This review is focused on exploring the impact of oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species on mitochondria and the crucial roles played by oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species in the pathological processes of intervertebral disc cells. In addition, we discussed current cutting-edge treatments and introduced the use of mitochondrial antioxidants and protectants as a potential method to slow down oxidative stress in the treatment of disc degeneration.


Keywords: Oxidative stress,  Reactive oxygen species,  Mitochondrial function,  Intervertebral disc cells,  Review


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