Complications in the spine associated with type 2 diabetes: The role of advanced glycation end-products

Kaitlyn Broz, Remy E. Walk, Simon Y. Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is an increasingly prevalent disease with numerous comorbidities including many in the spine. T2D is strongly linked with vertebral fractures, intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, and severe chronic spinal pain. Yet the causative mechanism for these musculoskeletal impairments remains unclear. The chronic hyperglycemic state in T2D promotes the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in tissues, and the accumulation of AGEs may play a role in musculoskeletal complications by modifying the extracellular matrix, impairing cellular homeostasis, and perpetuating an inflammatory cascade via its receptor (RAGE). The AGE and RAGE associated alterations in extracellular matrix composition and morphological features of the vertebral bodies and IVDs are likely contributors to the incidence and severity of spinal pathologies in T2D. This review will broadly examine the effects of AGEs on tissues in the spine in the context of T2D, with an emphasis on the changes in the vertebrae and the IVD. Along with the clinical and epidemiological findings, we will provide an overview of preclinical rodent models of T2D that exhibit deficits in the IVD and vertebral bone. Elucidating the role of AGEs and RAGE will be crucial for understanding the disease mechanisms and translation therapies of musculoskeletal pathologies in T2D.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100065
JournalMedicine in Novel Technology and Devices
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • AGEs
  • Advanced glycation end-products
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration
  • Spinal pathologies
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Vertebral fracture


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