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Open Badges Editorial

Canonical Wnt signaling and caveolae play a role in intervertebral disc degeneration; the continuing saga of the mysterious notochordal cell

Mark Erwin

Author Affiliations

Divisions of Orthopaedic and Neurological Surgery, Toronto Western Hospital/ University of Toronto, 399 Bathurst Street, McLaughlin Pavilion Rm 11-408, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:113  doi:10.1186/ar4182

See related research by Smolders et al.,

Published: 22 March 2013


Over the past few decades small animal models mainly involving rodents and rabbits have been developed whereby needle puncture, stab incision or enzymatic approaches have been validated to create the degenerative disc. Although important, these models continue to be plagued by biological attributes that limit applicability to the human condition. However, the fascinating story of two naturally occurring subspecies of canine, the non-chondrodystrophic and chondrodystrophic canine, provides us with an animal model that differentially is protected from the development of degenerative disc disease. Here, Smolders and colleagues provide the first steps to understanding some of the secrets held by man's best friend.