Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is a complex pathology, involving alterations in mechanical and biological function. Mechanical injury to IVDs may contribute to the development of IVD degeneration, and can arise following excessive loading or repeated exposure to loading levels which are not instantaneously damaging. Lateral bending and flexion produced the highest maximum shear strains in human IVDs and are considered the motions that place the IVD at greatest risk of injury (1). The biological response of the IVD to combined bending and compression has been examined in vivo in rat and mouse tail bending models demonstrating structural disruption, apoptosis and remodeling (2,4). However, there are practical limitations to current in vivo studies, as it can be difficult to apply repeated bending loads to the disc in vivo, and few large animal models exist capable of tracking the early biological, structural and compositional changes from asymmetrical loading. IVD organ culture allows control over mechanical boundary conditions and investigation of cellular responses to loading while the IVD remains largely intact, and allows the use of large animal models which more closely mimic the nutritional and compositional nature of human IVDs.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.