TGF-β signaling plays a critical role in cartilage and spine tissue development at embryonic stage but its role in postnatal intervertebral disc (IVD) tissue growth and maintenance remain poorly understood. In the present studies, we have deleted the Tgfbr2 gene in inner annulus fibrosus cells of the disc tissue and surrounding growth plate chondrocytes using Col2a1-CreER T2 transgenic mice. We found that TGF-β signaling is required for normal growth plate cartilage and endplate cartilage growth at postnatal stage. The expression of Mmp13 gene is significantly up-regulated in primary disc cells of Tgfbr2 conditional knockout mice. Deletion of the Mmp13 gene under Tgfbr2 null background completely reverses the abnormal disc phenotype found in Tgfbr2 knockout mice.
- Conditional knockout
- Intervertebral disc