Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Biomech. 2014 Sep 22;47(12):2983-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.07.005. Epub 2014 Jul 14.

Effect of microgravity on the biomechanical properties of lumbar and caudal intervertebral discs in mice.

Author information

1
Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA; Anthropology and Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
2
Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
3
Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.
4
Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. Electronic address: Jeffrey.Lotz@ucsf.edu.

Abstract

Prolonged exposure to microgravity has shown to have deleterious effects on the human spine, indicated by low back pain during spaceflight and increased incidence of post-spaceflight herniated nucleus pulposus. We examined the effect of microgravity on biomechanical properties of lumbar and caudal discs from mice having been on 15-day shuttle mission STS-131. Sixteen C57BL/C mice (spaceflight group, n=8; ground-based control group, n=8) were sacrificed immediately after spaceflight. Physiological disc height (PDH) was measured in situ, and compressive creep tests were performed to parameterize biomechanical properties into endplate permeability (k), nuclear swelling pressure strain dependence (D), and annular viscoelasticity (G). For caudal discs, the spaceflight group exhibited 32% lower PDH, 70% lower D and crept more compared to the control mice (p=0.03). For lumbar discs, neither PDH nor D was significantly different between murine groups. Initial modulus, osmotic pressure, k and G for lumbar and caudal discs did not appear influenced by microgravity (p>0.05). Decreases in both PDH and D suggest prolonged microgravity effectively diminished biomechanical properties of caudal discs. By contrast, differences were not noted for lumbar discs. This potentially deleterious interaction between prolonged weightlessness and differential ranges of motion along the spine may underlie the increased cervical versus lumbar disc herniation rates observed among astronauts.

KEYWORDS:

Compressive creep; Disc degeneration; Disc herniation; Intervertebral disc; Microgravity

PMID:
25085756
DOI:
10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.07.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center