Venous blood specimens were obtained from healthy volunteers, who had an average age of 24.3 ± 2.1 years old (n = 15, including 8 males and 7 females) and were considered the control group, and the aforementioned IVDD patients (n = 15) were used as the degeneration group. MRI confirmed that the discs of the volunteers were normal. Blood samples of IVDD patients were collected before surgery. After centrifugation (10 min, 3000×g, 4 °C), plasma was collected and separated into two tubes. One tube was used to measure the CRP concentration at the clinical laboratory and the other sample was stored in liquid nitrogen until analysis.

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