gms | German Medical Science

57th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery
Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

11 - 14 May, Essen

Endogenous cellular repair in human intervertebral discs

Endogene Reparaturmechanismen in menschlichen Bandscheiben

Meeting Abstract

  • T. Hoell - Spine Center Baden, Bühl
  • corresponding author A. Beier - Spine Center Baden, Bühl
  • Y. Minkus - Dept. of Neurology, Bergmannstrost Hospital, Halle/Saale
  • H.J. Holzhausen - Dept. of Neuropathology, MLU-University Hospital, Halle/Saale
  • H.J. Meisel - Dept. of Neurology, Bergmannstrost Hospital, Halle/Saale

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Japanische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 57. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Japanischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Essen, 11.-14.05.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocP 12.199

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 8, 2006

© 2006 Hoell et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: The aim of the study was the systematic investigation of endogenous tissue repair mechanisms in the human inter vertebral disc. We studied chondroid and fibroblast growth in 100 herniated disc specimen.

Methods: Disc specimens of 10 patients were dissected in presence of 400nm UV light. 100 of the patients were operated on discs lumbar and cervical. Techniques: Frozen section, paraffin embedding, HE staining, Alzian blue staining, epi-fluorescence histology and cell count of every fraction were carried out. Demographic and clinical parameters were registrated.

Results: 15% of the patients displayed solitary chondrocyte proliferates, 51% showed single regenerative clusters of chondrocytes, 24% showed a significant number of clusters and 4% consisted mainly of clusters. Endogenous cellular repair was established in a highly significant number of cases. Three histologically different growth patterns were observed and recognized as age dependant. Chondrocyte growth and intra discal scar formation were distinguishable.

Conclusions: The results show that chondrocyte clusters are a underestimated cellular answer to trauma and degeneration. Since the regenerative clusters alter the structural integrity of the annular matrix we offer the opinion that they play a role for the emergence of disc prolapses.