Increased sulfatase 1 gene expression in degenerative intervertebral disc cells

Tsung Ting Tsai, Natalie Yi Ju Ho, Hung Chen Fang, Po Liang Lai, Chi Chien Niu, Lih Huei Chen, Wen Jer Chen, Jong Hwei S. Pang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

6 Scopus citations


Sulfatase 1 (SULF1) plays a key role in cell signaling involving in cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, and migration. Abnormal SULF1 expression has been implicated in the development of various cancers and diseases of the skeletal and nervous systems. The present study aims to examine the difference in SULF1 expression between degenerative and non-degenerative intervertebral discs (IVDs) to provide an enhanced understanding of disc degeneration. Degenerative and non-degenerative disc tissues were surgically harvested from patients and experimental rats. Disc degeneration-specific genes were identified by microarray analysis. The gene expression of SULF1 was measured by sulfatase assay, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), real-time RT-PCR, and western blotting. Also, the presence of SULF1 in human and rat discs was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. More specifically in human cells, an increase of SULF1 gene expression was observed in degenerative cells at both mRNA and protein levels, as well as in time- and dose-dependent manner in response to TNF-a treatment. Increased staining of SULF1 was detected in degenerative discs compared to non-degenerative discs for humans and rats. These findings show an upregulation of SULF1 in degenerative discs for the first time, and suggest that there is a link between SULF1 and disc degeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-317
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 01 03 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Disc degeneration
  • Gene expression
  • Microarray analysis
  • Sulfatase
  • TNF-α


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