Connective tissue changes of the multifidus muscle in patients with lumbar disc herniation. An immunohistologic study of collagen types I and III and fibronectin

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1989 Mar;14(3):302-9. doi: 10.1097/00007632-198903000-00010.


The connective tissue components, Types I and III collagen fibronectin, were immunohistologically analyzed using their specific antibodies for localization and semiquantitative estimation in 24 patients (11 women and 13 men, all under 55 years of age) operated on for herniated lumbar intervertebral disc. Nine cadavers without known back problems (2 women, 7 men) served as controls. In controls, Type I collagen was present in the endo- and perimysial structures of the muscle, more conspiciously in the former. Type III collagen, together with fibronectin, were more abundant in the perimysium than in the endomysium. Thickening of these structures was not evident in the controls. In most patients Types I and III collagen and fibronectin distribution was similar to that of the controls. However, fibrotic changes of both and endo- and perimysial structures involved all Types I and III collagen and fibronectin in ten cases. In two patients an increase in Type I collagen staining intensity in the endomysium was recorded and thickening of the endomysial structures was observed in six patients. There were correlations with the severity of the connective tissue structural changes to atrophy of the muscle and furthermore to disability of the patient in the 1-year postoperative check-up. These findings suggest that if marked fibrosis of the muscle occurs, it can be a factor impairing recovery from the disease during the long-term postoperative course.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Collagen / immunology
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Connective Tissue / metabolism*
  • Connective Tissue / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / immunology
  • Fibronectins / metabolism*
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / metabolism*
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / pathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • Muscles / pathology


  • Fibronectins
  • Collagen