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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1988 Mar;13(3):301-8.

A study of the effects of bipedism and upright posture on the lumbosacral spine and paravertebral muscles of the Wistar rat.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


Twenty-one bipedal rats were prepared by forelimb amputation and reared with 19 control rats. All of the bipedal rats became proficient upright walkers. There was significant anterior wedging of the lower lumbar vertebral bodies in all of the bipedal rats and four had radiographic evidence of degenerative disc disease. Five bipedal rats developed lumbosacral disc herniations, and the lumbar neural canal was significantly smaller in the bipedal population. There was no difference in radionuclide uptake between the two groups. Histochemical analysis of the psoas and multifidus muscles showed a significant shift from type I to type II fibers in the psoas and from type II to type I fibers in the multifidus in the bipedal population. These results indicate that upright posture places considerable stress on the lumbosacral spine and paravertebral muscles of the rat.

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