Serum levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) vary in individuals with lumbar intervertebral disc disease and biochemical profiling of circulating cytokines may assist in refining personalised diagnoses of disc diseases, according to a study published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
Low back pain is caused by multiple triggers that present in similar ways. Some of the most common diagnoses for low back pain include intervertebral disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.
Nadeen Chahine, PhD, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York, and colleagues looked at the biochemical profile of 133 patients with low back pain. They studied cytokines, specifically IL-6, to determine how they influenced the behaviour and pain levels of those with low back pain. Patients were compared with a control group
Results showed that serum levels of IL-6 were significantly higher in subjects with low back pain compared with control participants. In addition, participants with low back pain due to spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease also had higher levels than those with intervertebral disc herniation and controls.
Their findings suggest that patients with low back pain have low-grade systemic inflammation and that biochemical profiling of circulating cytokines can assist in diagnosing those with low back pain. This will help low back pain sufferers get the correct diagnosis in a shorter amount of time.
“We’re very excited by the results of this clinical study and will continue to study cytokine levels in the future,” said Dr. Chahine. “Exploring the biochemical profile of those who suffer from low back pain will help the 40% to 80% of sufferers throughout the United States.”