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Nucleus pulposus

- Discussion:
    - nucleus pulposus consists of a network of delicate collagenous fibers in a mucoprotein gel rich in polysaccharide;
    - contains type II collagen;
    - nucleus has a high water content, apparently the result of imbibition by the gel;
    - it functions to resist compressive loads;
    - water content declines with advancing age and is reduced by pressure borne by the disc, accounting for loss in the height of a person 
           during an active day;
           - gradual loss of proteoglycan content explains the loss of water w/ aging;
           - after the third decade, there is gradual loss of fluid and concomitant fibrous replacement of the nucleus;
           - by sixth or seventh decade the nucleus has become fibrocartilage;
           - w/ age, the anulus shows coarsened and hyalinized fibers and fissuring of the lamellae;

- Herniation:
    - herniation of intervertebral disc occurs most often in lumbar or cervical regions where motion and stress are greatest;
    - this may involve a simple bulging of the disc or complete herniation of a portion of the nucleus pulposus through the anulus fibrosus

Glutathione protects human nucleus pulposus cells from cell apoptosis and inhibition of matrix synthesis