European Spine Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 3135–3140 | Cite as

The distribution of infection with Propionibacterium acnes is equal in patients with cervical and lumbar disc herniation

  • Naghmeh Javanshir
  • Firooz Salehpour
  • Javad Aghazadeh
  • Farhad Mirzaei
  • Seyed Ahmad Naseri Alavi
Original Article



Cervical and back pains are important clinical problems affecting human populations globally. It is suggested that Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is associated with disc herniation. The aim of this study is to evaluate the distribution of P. acnes infection in the cervical and lumbar disc material obtained from patients with disc herniation.

Methods and material

A total of 145 patients with mean age of 45.21 ± 11.24 years who underwent micro-discectomy in cervical and lumbar regions were enrolled into the study. The samples were excited during the operation and then cultured in the anaerobic incubations. The cultured P. acnes were detected by 16S rRNA-based polymerase chain reaction.


In this study, 145 patients including 25 cases with cervical and 120 cases with lumbar disc herniation were enrolled to the study. There was no significant difference in the age of male and female patients (p = 0.123). P. acnes infection was detected in nine patients (36%) with cervical disc herniation and 46 patients (38.3%) with lumbar disc herniation and no significant differences were reported in P. acnes presence according to the disc regions (p = 0.508.). Moreover, there was a significant difference in the presence of P. acnes infection according to the level of lumbar disc herniation (p = 0.028).


According to the results, the presence of P. acnes is equal in patients with cervical and lumbar disc herniation. There was a significant difference in the distribution of P. acnes infection according to level of lumbar disc herniation.

Level of Evidence



Propionibacterium acnes Cervical Lumbar Disc herniation 


Compliance with ethical standards



Conflict of interest

None of the authors has any potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of MedicineTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of MedicineTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran

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