Hai Li, Lei-Sheng Jiang, Li-Yang Dai

August 2007, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 1075 - 1084 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-007-0356-4

First Online: 11 April 2007

Ossification of the spinal ligaments (OSL) is a pathologic condition that causes ectopic bone formation and subsequently results in various degrees of neurological deficit, but the etiology of OSL remains almost unknown. Some systemic hormones, such as 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), insulin and leptin, and local growth factors, such as transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), have been studied and are thought to be involved in the initiation and development of OSL. This review article summarizes these studies, delineates the possible mechanisms, and puts forward doubts and new questions. The related findings from studies of genes and target cells in the ligament of OSL are also discussed. Although these findings may be helpful in understanding the pathogenesis of OSL, much more research needs to be conducted in order to investigate the nature of OSL.

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