The degenerative process of the intervertebral disc is a heterogeneous process that may exist in two forms, and involves dominant degenerative changes within the nucleus pulposus and the annulus fibrosus. In degenerative disc disease, the oxidative stress factor can play an important role.

The aim of research was to present a new approach to understanding the role of the analyzed elements in the process of degeneration of the intervertebral disc.

Material and methods:
Selected elements from oxidative groups (Fe, Zn, Mo, As, Se), associated with enzymatic processes (Fe, Mo, Se, Zn, Ag, As, Bi), metals (Fe, Zn, Mo, Li) and metalloids (As, Bi) and their content was analyzed depending on the changes in the radiological images of the intervertebral disc. Elemental content analysis was performed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry analytical technique.

The similarity between Fe and Se has been demonstrated during different stages of the analysis of groups of patients with degenerative disc disease. There was a negative correlation between Li and degenerative disc disease. The results also suggest that Fe and Ag are involved in degenerative changes within the intervertebral disc. A potential relationship between As/Bi and Fe/Mo in the degeneration of the intervertebral disc was demonstrated.

Only some of the correlations can be explained by the metabolism of morphological elements of the intervertebral disc. The relationships indicate new directions for further studies on the degeneration process of the intervertebral disc. The presented study may reflect metabolic changes in the intervertebral disc and adjacent structures in response to the progressive degenerative process.

Funding source. National Science Center in Poland (MINIATURA 1 2017), under grant agreement no. DEC- 2017/01/X/NZ5/00308.
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