Several biomarkers have been used to evaluate osteoarthritis of the limb joints. Here we evaluated the use of serum cartilage metabolites as biomarkers for degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS). Fifty-two DLS patients with Cobb angle>10° were compared with 19 control patients. Serum levels of hyaluronic acid (HA), keratan sulfate (KS), cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), collagen type II cleavage (C2C), and procollagen type II C-propeptide (CPII) were measured. Serum levels of KS (DLS 1.20±0.44μg/ml vs. control 0.98±0.33μg/ml), CPII (DLS 1905.1±948.2ng/ml vs. control 1223.6±884.4ng/ml), and C2C (DLS 219.1±59.2ng/ml vs. control 177.7±71.7ng/ml) were significantly higher in DLS. There were no significant differences in the levels of HA or COMP. There was a significant positive correlation between the Cobb angle and CPII in DLS. This is the first study to evaluate the cartilage biomarkers in DLS. The results suggest DLS patients have higher levels of type II collagen synthesis and degradation, indicated by elevated serum CPII and C2C, respectively. As type II collagen is a major component of collagens in the nucleus pulposus and facet joint cartilages, its enhanced turnover may be related to the development and progression of DLS.
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