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We investigated the distribution of fibrillin-2 and LTBP-2 (latent TGF-β binding protein-2) in the intervertebral disc of the adult bovine tail. The association of fibrillin-2 and of LTBP-2 with fibrillin-1 was examined by dual immunofluorescence staining. Both fibrillin-2 and LTBP-2 were found extensively distributed in all regions of the disc with the organisation of the network varying significantly region to region. In the outer annulus fibrosus (OAF) both fibrillin-2 and LTBP-2 co-localised with fibrillin-1 forming fibres running parallel to the collagen fibres of the lamellae with the microfibrillar network staining densely in between the adjacent lamellae and also at the boundaries of the collagen bundle compartments. In the inner annulus fibrosus (IAF) and nucleus pulposus (NP), co-localised fibrillin-1,2 and LTBP-2 formed a chondron-like structure around the cell. By contrast, the inter-territorial matrix of the IAF and NP contained a dense network of fibrillin-2 but only sparse/filamentous fibres of fibrillin-1 and LTBP-2. Dual immunostaining revealed that in this region, fibrillin-2 was highly colocalised with elastin. The LTBP-2 network co-localised well with that of fibrillin-1 in all regions and indeed is reported to bind strongly to fibrillin-1. However, interestingly LTBP-2 but not fibrillin-1 or fibrillin-2 was removed by hyaluronidase but not collagenase pre-digestion. Our results suggest that fibrillin-2 and LTBP-2 could play an important role in disc function. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Anatomy © 2011 Anatomical Society.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Anatomy

Publication Date





164 - 172