Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2011 Nov;4(8):1611-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2011.03.016. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

Effect of orientation and targeted extracellular matrix degradation on the shear mechanical properties of the annulus fibrosus.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6081, United States.


The intervertebral disc experiences combinations of compression, torsion, and bending that subject the disc substructures, particularly the annulus fibrosus (AF), to multidirectional loads and deformations. Combined tensile and shear loading is a particularly important loading paradigm, as compressive loads place the AF in circumferential hoop tension, and spine torsion or bending induces AF shear. Yet the anisotropy of AF mechanical properties in shear, as well as important structure-function mechanisms governing this response, are not well-understood. The objective of this study, therefore, was to investigate the effects of tissue orientation and enzymatic degradation of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and elastin on AF shear mechanical properties. Significant anisotropy was found: the circumferential shear modulus, Gθz, was an order of magnitude greater than the radial shear modulus, Grθ. In the circumferential direction, prestrain significantly increased the shear modulus, suggesting an important role for collagen fiber stretch in shear properties for this orientation. While not significant and highly variable, ChABC treatment to remove GAG increased the circumferential shear modulus compared to PBS control (p=0.15). Together with the established literature for tensile loading of fiber-reinforced GAG-rich tissues, the trends for changes in shear modulus with ChABC treatment reflect complex, structure-function relationships between GAG and collagen that potentially occur over several hierarchical scales. Elastase digestion did not significantly affect shear modulus with respect to PBS control; further contributing to the notion that circumferential shear modulus is dominated by collagen fiber stretch. The results of this study highlight the complexity of the structure-function relationships that govern the mechanical response of the AF in radial and circumferential shear, and provide new and more accurate data for the validation of material models and tissue-engineered disc replacements.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (7)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk