The Association Between Low Back Pain and Composition of IgG Glycome

Sci Rep. 2016 May 27;6:26815. doi: 10.1038/srep26815.


Low back pain (LBP) is a common debilitating condition which aetiology and pathogenesis are poorly understood. We carried out a first so far analysis of associations between LBP and plasma IgG N-glycome in a sample of 4511 twins from TwinsUK database assessed for LBP, lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) as its possible cause, and IgG-glycan levels. Using weighted correlation network analysis, we established a correlation between LBP and glycan modules featured by glycans that either promote or block antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). The levels of four glycan traits representing two of those modules were statistically significantly different in monozygotic twins discordant for LBP. Also, the trend to higher prevalence of systemic inflammatory disorders was shown for twins with low level of fucosylated glycans and high level of non-fucosylated glycans. Core fucosylation of IgG is a "safety switch" reducing ADCC, thus our results suggest the involvement of ADCC and associated inflammation in pathogenesis of LBP. No correlation between LDD scores and glycans was found assuming that the inflammation may not be a part of LDD. These data provide a new insight into understanding the complex pathophysiology of LBP and suggest glycan levels as a possible biomarker for inflammation-related subtypes of LBP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / blood
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / blood*
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysaccharides / blood*
  • Twins, Monozygotic


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Polysaccharides