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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Nov;16(11):1312-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2008.03.015. Epub 2008 Apr 25.

Age-related degeneration of lumbar intervertebral discs in rabbits revealed by deuterium oxide-assisted MRI.

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1
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is associated with a loss of disc water content and change in biochemical composition of the disc. Rabbit is a frequently used model to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutics for disc degeneration. This study addresses whether rabbits undergo age-related disc degeneration, assessed using deuterium oxide-assisted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar IVDs.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

The lumbar spines of adolescent, adult, and aged rabbits (6-36 months) were subjected to T2-weighted/short-tau inversion recovery (STIR) MRI scan along with water-deuterium oxide (H(2)O:D(2)O) dilutions. The total and maximum H(2)O:D(2)O index (HDi) of the lumbar IVDs were determined and compared between disc levels at different ages.

RESULTS:

Adolescent rabbit lumbar discs had similar total HDi, suggesting the hydration and biochemical composition was similar among the lumbar levels. With the use of H(2)O:D(2)O reference, the discs were shown to undergo continual decrease in signal with aging which non-calibrated measurement method could not reveal. The HDi decrease rate was higher at the caudal than cranial levels.

CONCLUSION:

This study provided in vivo evidence of age-related progressive disc degenerative change in rabbit lumbar discs, suggesting aged rabbits can be considered as a natural disc degeneration model in disc regeneration studies. However, it is important to select proper disc levels as intra-subject controls due to different rates of degenerative changes between caudal and cranial levels.

PMID:
18440246
DOI:
10.1016/j.joca.2008.03.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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