The PI3K/Akt pathway: a critical player in intervertebral disc degeneration

Zhi-Hua Ouyang, Wen-Jun Wang, Yi-Guo Yan, Bin Wang and Guo-Hua Lv _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:57870-57881. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18628

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Zhi-Hua Ouyang1,2, Wen-Jun Wang2, Yi-Guo Yan2, Bing Wang1 and Guo-Hua Lv1

1Department of Spine Surgery, The 2nd Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China

2Department of Spine Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, University of South China, Hengyang, China

Correspondence to:

Guo-Hua Lv, email: [email protected]

Keywords: IDD, PI3K, Akt, PTEN, mTOR

Received: November 07, 2016     Accepted: May 10, 2017     Published: June 27, 2017


Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is thought to be the primary cause of low back pain, a severe public health problem worldwide. Current therapy for IDD aims to alleviate the symptoms and does not target the underlying pathological alternations within the disc. Activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway protects against IDD, which is attributed to increase of ECM content, prevention of cell apoptosis, facilitation of cell proliferation, induction or prevention of cell autophagy, alleviation of oxidative damage, and adaptation of hypoxic microenvironment. In the current review, we summarize recent progression on activation and negative regulation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, and highlight its impact on IDD. Targeting this pathway could become an attractive therapeutic strategy for IDD in the near future.

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