Jaro Karppinen, Katri Koivisto, Jukka Ketola, Marianne Haapea, Markus Paananen, Karl-Heinz Herzig, Mauro Alini, Jeffrey Lotz, Stefan Dudli, Dino Samartzis, Juha Risteli, Marja-Leena Majuri, Harri Alenius, Eero Kyllönen, Jyri Järvinen, Jaakko Niinimäki, Sibylle Grad

April 2021, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1018 - 1027 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06713-z

First Online: 09 January 2021


Lumbar Modic change (MC) can serve as a diagnostic marker as well as an independent source of chronic low back pain (CLBP). This study aimed to test for the existence of serum biomarkers in CLBP patients with MC.


Age- and sex-matched CLBP patients with confirmed MC on lumbar MRI (n = 40) and pain-free controls (n = 40) were assessed. MC was classified into M1, predominating M1, predominating M2 and M2. MC volumes were calculated. Fasting blood samples were assessed for inflammatory mediators, signalling molecules, growth factors and bone turnover markers. Serum concentrations of 46 biomarkers were measured.


Median concentrations of interleukin (IL)-15 (p 


This is the first study to assess the blood serum biomarker profile in individuals with CLBP with MC. Several biomarkers were suppressed, while two markers (IL-1sRII and HGF) were elevated among MC patients, irrespective of MC type or size, with CLBP compared with asymptomatic controls.

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