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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1991 May;16(5):520-4.

Age changes to the anulus fibrosus in human intervertebral discs.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Abstract

This study deals with age changes in the anulus fibrosus of the lumbar intervertebral discs of human individuals 21-83 years of age. The anular laminas from individuals less than 40 years of age consisted of obliquely orientated collagen fibers exhibiting a pennate arrangement. These fibers were intensely argyrophilic after silver nitrate impregnation. The fibers and surrounding substance appeared light pink after exposure to the periodic-acid-Schiff (PAS) reaction and blue with alcian blue complex. Beginning during middle age and continuing into the eighth decade, there was a progressive degeneration of the laminas. The breakdown of the intact laminas was characterized by the fraying, splitting, and loss of collagen fibers. The newly formed spaces became filled with intense PAS-positive material. In addition, there was a continual deposition of chondroid substance in the anuluses of the aging discs. This phenomenon was not seen in the young disc. These age related changes lead to a loss of integrity to the disc, which may be a factor in disc pathology.

PMID:
1711242
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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