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Inflammatory biomarkers do not distinguish between patients with sciatica and referred leg pain within a primary care population: results from a nested study within the ATLAS cohort

Hider, Samantha L.; Konstantinou, Kika; Hay, Elaine M.; Glossop, John; Mattey, Derek L.

Inflammatory biomarkers do not distinguish between patients with sciatica and referred leg pain within a primary care population: results from a nested study within the ATLAS cohort Thumbnail


Authors

Kika Konstantinou

John Glossop

Derek L. Mattey



Abstract

Background
There is increasing interest in the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis of sciatica and whether these could be potential targets for treatment. We sought to investigate serum biomarker levels in patients with low back-related leg pain, including sciatica.

Methods
Primary care consulters aged >?18 with low back-related leg pain were recruited to a cohort study (ATLAS). Participants underwent a standardised clinical assessment, lumbar spine MRI and a subsample (n =?119) had samples taken for biomarker analysis. Participants were classified having: a) clinically confirmed sciatica or referred leg pain, and then subdivided into those with (or without) MRI confirmed nerve root compression due to disc prolapse. Seventeen key cytokines, chemokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) implicated in sciatica pathogenesis including TNFa and IL-6, were assayed in duplicate using commercial multiplex detection kits and measured using a Luminex suspension array system. Median biomarker levels were compared between the groups using a Mann Whitney U test. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association between clinical measures and biomarker levels adjusted for possible confounders such as age, sex, and symptom duration.

Results
No difference was found in the serum level of any of the 17 biomarkers tested in patients with (n =?93) or without (n =?26) clinically confirmed sciatica, nor between those with (n =?44) or without (n =?49) sciatica and MRI confirmed nerve root compression.

Conclusion
In this cohort, no significant differences in serum levels of TNFa, IL-6 or any other biomarkers were seen between patients with sciatica and those with back pain with referred leg pain. These results suggest that in patients with low back-related leg pain, serum markers associated with inflammation do not discriminate between patients with or without clinically confirmed sciatica or between those with or without evidence of nerve root compression on MRI.

Citation

Hider, S. L., Konstantinou, K., Hay, E. M., Glossop, J., & Mattey, D. L. (2019). Inflammatory biomarkers do not distinguish between patients with sciatica and referred leg pain within a primary care population: results from a nested study within the ATLAS cohort. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 20, Article 202. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2604-2

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 30, 2019
Publication Date May 10, 2019
Journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Print ISSN 1471-2474
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Article Number 202
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2604-2
Keywords Sciatica, Low back pain, Cytokines, TNFa, Radiculopathy
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2604-2

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