Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: Degenerative changes in the INTERVERTEBRAL DISC due to aging or structural damage, especially to the vertebral end-plates.Intervertebral Disc: Any of the 23 plates of fibrocartilage found between the bodies of adjacent VERTEBRAE.Intervertebral Disc Displacement: An INTERVERTEBRAL DISC in which the nucleus pulposus has protruded through surrounding fibrocartilage. This occurs most frequently in the lower lumbar region.Spinal DiseasesLumbar Vertebrae: VERTEBRAE in the region of the lower BACK below the THORACIC VERTEBRAE and above the SACRAL VERTEBRAE.Fibrocartilage: A type of CARTILAGE whose matrix contains large bundles of COLLAGEN TYPE I. Fibrocartilage is typically found in the INTERVERTEBRAL DISK; PUBIC SYMPHYSIS; TIBIAL MENISCI; and articular disks in synovial JOINTS. (From Ross et. al., Histology, 3rd ed., p132,136)Spinal Osteophytosis: Outgrowth of immature bony processes or bone spurs (OSTEOPHYTE) from the VERTEBRAE, reflecting the presence of degenerative disease and calcification. It commonly occurs in cervical and lumbar SPONDYLOSIS.Aggrecans: Large HYALURONAN-containing proteoglycans found in articular cartilage (CARTILAGE, ARTICULAR). They form into aggregates that provide tissues with the capacity to resist high compressive and tensile forces.Collagen Type II: A fibrillar collagen found predominantly in CARTILAGE and vitreous humor. It consists of three identical alpha1(II) chains.Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Non-invasive method of demonstrating internal anatomy based on the principle that atomic nuclei in a strong magnetic field absorb pulses of radiofrequency energy and emit them as radiowaves which can be reconstructed into computerized images. The concept includes proton spin tomographic techniques.Proteoglycans: Glycoproteins which have a very high polysaccharide content.Disease Models, Animal: Naturally occurring or experimentally induced animal diseases with pathological processes sufficiently similar to those of human diseases. They are used as study models for human diseases.Spine: The spinal or vertebral column.Diskectomy: Excision, in part or whole, of an INTERVERTEBRAL DISC. The most common indication is disk displacement or herniation. In addition to standard surgical removal, it can be performed by percutaneous diskectomy (DISKECTOMY, PERCUTANEOUS) or by laparoscopic diskectomy, the former being the more common.Cervical Vertebrae: The first seven VERTEBRAE of the SPINAL COLUMN, which correspond to the VERTEBRAE of the NECK.Lumbosacral Region: Region of the back including the LUMBAR VERTEBRAE, SACRUM, and nearby structures.Low Back Pain: Acute or chronic pain in the lumbar or sacral regions, which may be associated with musculo-ligamentous SPRAINS AND STRAINS; INTERVERTEBRAL DISK DISPLACEMENT; and other conditions.Collagen Type IX: A fibril-associated collagen usually found crosslinked to the surface of COLLAGEN TYPE II fibrils. It is a heterotrimer containing alpha1(IX), alpha2(IX) and alpha3(IX) subunits.Weight-Bearing: The physical state of supporting an applied load. This often refers to the weight-bearing bones or joints that support the body's weight, especially those in the spine, hip, knee, and foot.Compressive Strength: The maximum compression a material can withstand without failure. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 5th ed, p427)Intervertebral Disc Chemolysis: The dissolving of the nucleus pulposus, the semi-gelatinous tissue of a displaced INTERVERTEBRAL DISC. It is usually achieved by the direct injection of a proteolytic enzyme, especially CHYMOPAPAIN, into the herniated disc.Spinal Fusion: Operative immobilization or ankylosis of two or more vertebrae by fusion of the vertebral bodies with a short bone graft or often with diskectomy or laminectomy. (From Blauvelt & Nelson, A Manual of Orthopaedic Terminology, 5th ed, p236; Dorland, 28th ed)Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Notochord: A cartilaginous rod of mesodermal cells at the dorsal midline of all CHORDATE embryos. In lower vertebrates, notochord is the backbone of support. In the higher vertebrates, notochord is a transient structure, and segments of the vertebral column will develop around it. Notochord is also a source of midline signals that pattern surrounding tissues including the NEURAL TUBE development.Thoracic Vertebrae: A group of twelve VERTEBRAE connected to the ribs that support the upper trunk region.Spondylolisthesis: Forward displacement of a superior vertebral body over the vertebral body below.Sacrum: Five fused VERTEBRAE forming a triangle-shaped structure at the back of the PELVIS. It articulates superiorly with the LUMBAR VERTEBRAE, inferiorly with the COCCYX, and anteriorly with the ILIUM of the PELVIS. The sacrum strengthens and stabilizes the PELVIS.Retinal Degeneration: A retrogressive pathological change in the retina, focal or generalized, caused by genetic defects, inflammation, trauma, vascular disease, or aging. Degeneration affecting predominantly the macula lutea of the retina is MACULAR DEGENERATION. (Newell, Ophthalmology: Principles and Concepts, 7th ed, p304)Macular Degeneration: Degenerative changes in the RETINA usually of older adults which results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the MACULA LUTEA) because of damage to the retina. It occurs in dry and wet forms.Biomechanical Phenomena: The properties, processes, and behavior of biological systems under the action of mechanical forces.Nerve Degeneration: Loss of functional activity and trophic degeneration of nerve axons and their terminal arborizations following the destruction of their cells of origin or interruption of their continuity with these cells. The pathology is characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases. Often the process of nerve degeneration is studied in research on neuroanatomical localization and correlation of the neurophysiology of neural pathways.Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal.Scoliosis: An appreciable lateral deviation in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. (Dorland, 27th ed)Chymopapain: A cysteine endopeptidase isolated from papaya latex. Preferential cleavage at glutamic and aspartic acid residues. EC The anterior concavity in the curvature of the lumbar and cervical spine as viewed from the side. The term usually refers to abnormally increased curvature (hollow back, saddle back, swayback). It does not include lordosis as normal mating posture in certain animals ( = POSTURE + SEX BEHAVIOR, ANIMAL).Discitis: Inflammation of an INTERVERTEBRAL DISC or disk space which may lead to disk erosion. Until recently, discitis has been defined as a nonbacterial inflammation and has been attributed to aseptic processes (e.g., chemical reaction to an injected substance). However, recent studies provide evidence that infection may be the initial cause, but perhaps not the promoter, of most cases of discitis. Discitis has been diagnosed in patients following discography, myelography, lumbar puncture, paravertebral injection, and obstetrical epidural anesthesia. Discitis following chemonucleolysis (especially with chymopapain) is attributed to chemical reaction by some and to introduction of microorganisms by others.Cadaver: A dead body, usually a human body.Back Pain: Acute or chronic pain located in the posterior regions of the THORAX; LUMBOSACRAL REGION; or the adjacent regions.Glycosaminoglycans: Heteropolysaccharides which contain an N-acetylated hexosamine in a characteristic repeating disaccharide unit. The repeating structure of each disaccharide involves alternate 1,4- and 1,3-linkages consisting of either N-acetylglucosamine or N-acetylgalactosamine.Laminectomy: A surgical procedure that entails removing all (laminectomy) or part (laminotomy) of selected vertebral lamina to relieve pressure on the SPINAL CORD and/or SPINAL NERVE ROOTS. Vertebral lamina is the thin flattened posterior wall of vertebral arch that forms the vertebral foramen through which pass the spinal cord and nerve roots.Extracellular Matrix Proteins: Macromolecular organic compounds that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and usually, sulfur. These macromolecules (proteins) form an intricate meshwork in which cells are embedded to construct tissues. Variations in the relative types of macromolecules and their organization determine the type of extracellular matrix, each adapted to the functional requirements of the tissue. The two main classes of macromolecules that form the extracellular matrix are: glycosaminoglycans, usually linked to proteins (proteoglycans), and fibrous proteins (e.g., COLLAGEN; ELASTIN; FIBRONECTINS; and LAMININ).Osteoporosis: Reduction of bone mass without alteration in the composition of bone, leading to fractures. Primary osteoporosis can be of two major types: postmenopausal osteoporosis (OSTEOPOROSIS, POSTMENOPAUSAL) and age-related or senile osteoporosis.Zygapophyseal Joint: The joint that occurs between facets of the interior and superior articular processes of adjacent VERTEBRAE.ArchivesBiological Science Disciplines: All of the divisions of the natural sciences dealing with the various aspects of the phenomena of life and vital processes. The concept includes anatomy and physiology, biochemistry and biophysics, and the biology of animals, plants, and microorganisms. It should be differentiated from BIOLOGY, one of its subdivisions, concerned specifically with the origin and life processes of living organisms.Periodicals as Topic: A publication issued at stated, more or less regular, intervals.Gene Expression Profiling: The determination of the pattern of genes expressed at the level of GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION, under specific circumstances or in a specific cell.Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis: Hybridization of a nucleic acid sample to a very large set of OLIGONUCLEOTIDE PROBES, which have been attached individually in columns and rows to a solid support, to determine a BASE SEQUENCE, or to detect variations in a gene sequence, GENE EXPRESSION, or for GENE MAPPING.Bone Marrow: The soft tissue filling the cavities of bones. Bone marrow exists in two types, yellow and red. Yellow marrow is found in the large cavities of large bones and consists mostly of fat cells and a few primitive blood cells. Red marrow is a hematopoietic tissue and is the site of production of erythrocytes and granular leukocytes. Bone marrow is made up of a framework of connective tissue containing branching fibers with the frame being filled with marrow cells.Bone Marrow Cells: Cells contained in the bone marrow including fat cells (see ADIPOCYTES); STROMAL CELLS; MEGAKARYOCYTES; and the immediate precursors of most blood cells.Apoptosis: One of the mechanisms by which CELL DEATH occurs (compare with NECROSIS and AUTOPHAGOCYTOSIS). Apoptosis is the mechanism responsible for the physiological deletion of cells and appears to be intrinsically programmed. It is characterized by distinctive morphologic changes in the nucleus and cytoplasm, chromatin cleavage at regularly spaced sites, and the endonucleolytic cleavage of genomic DNA; (DNA FRAGMENTATION); at internucleosomal sites. This mode of cell death serves as a balance to mitosis in regulating the size of animal tissues and in mediating pathologic processes associated with tumor growth.