The search for systemic biomarkers for monitoring degenerative lumbar spinal disorders

Nader Tarabeih, Adel Shalata, Orabi Higla, Alexander Kalinkovich, Gregory Livshits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: In our previous study, we reported that low back pain (LBP) severity and disability significantly correlate with body composition and several blood biochemical factors. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that these covariates are associated with anatomical deformations of the lumbar spine, in particular, radiographic facet joint osteoarthritis (FJOA) and lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) features important contributors to LBP. Methods: CT and MRI images of the lumbar spine were obtained from 200 individuals suffering from LBP-sciatica. We examined the FJOA and total LDD score - the sum of the scores of the three radiographic features (intervertebral disc herniation, osteophythosis and spondylolisthesis) at the L1 - S1 vertebral levels. By implementing a bioelectrical impedance analysis, we assessed the participants for body composition, specifically, extracellular water (ECW). Plasma levels of growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) and visceral adipose tissue-derived serine protease inhibitor (vaspin), were detected by ELISA. Results: By conducting a series of multivariable regression analyses, we report that the circulating levels of GDF-15, vaspin, and ECW are significantly and independently associated with FJOA scores [βGDF15 ​= ​0.38 ​± ​0.08, p ​= ​0.0001; βVASPIN ​= ​0.36 ​± ​0.07, p ​= ​0.000004; βECW ​= ​0.24 ​± ​0.07, p ​= ​0.002]. The levels of GDF-15 (β ​= ​0.30 ​± ​0.10, p ​= ​0.007) and ECW (β ​= ​0.20 ​± ​0.09, p ​= ​0.03) were also found significantly associated with the LDD scores. Conclusion: The obtained new data suggest that GDF-15, vaspin and ECW may serve as biomarkers for FJOA and LDD phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100323
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Body composition
  • Facet joint osteoarthritis
  • GDF-15
  • Low back pain
  • Lumbar intervertebral disk
  • Vaspin


Dive into the research topics of 'The search for systemic biomarkers for monitoring degenerative lumbar spinal disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this