Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 3 pp 2246—2260

The protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Genistein, delays intervertebral disc degeneration in rats by inhibiting the p38 pathway-mediated inflammatory response

Jun Ge1, *, , Quan Zhou2, *, , Xiaoqiang Cheng1, *, , Jiale Qian1, , Qi Yan1, , Cenhao Wu1, , Yufeng Chen1, , Huilin Yang1, , Jun Zou1, ,

  • 1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, China
  • 2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Affiliated Huai'an Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, Huai’an, Jiangsu 223002, China
* Equal contribution

Received: April 28, 2019       Accepted: January 7, 2020       Published: February 5, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2020 Ge et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The treatment for intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) has drawn great attention and recent studies have revealed that the p38 MAPK pathway is a potential therapeutic target for delaying the degeneration of intervertebral discs. In this study, we analyzed a nature-derived protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Genistein, and its function in delaying IDD in rats both in vitro and in vivo via the p38 MAPK pathway. Nucleus pulposus cells treated with Genistein showed better function compared with untreated cells. Further study revealed that Genistein could play a protective role in IDD by inhibiting phosphorylation of p38, consequently inhibiting the p38 pathway-mediated inflammatory response. The rat IDD model also demonstrated that Genistein could effectively delay the degeneration of intervertebral disc tissue. The current study reveals new biological functions of Genistein, further demonstrates the effects of the p38 MAPK pathway on intervertebral disc degeneration, and deepens our understanding of the treatment and prevention of IDD.


IDD: Intervertebral disc degeneration; MAPK: mitogen-activated protein kinase; NPCs: nucleus pulposus cells; PTK: protein tyrosine kinase.