Send to

Choose Destination
Connect Tissue Res. 1989;23(1):75-88.

Hierarchical structure of the intervertebral disc.

Author information

Center for Applied Polymer Research, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


Optical microscope techniques are used to characterize the hierarchical structure of the collagenous components of the human intervertebral disc. In the anterior annulus fibrosus, the thickness of lamellae increases abruptly 2 mm inward from the edge of the disc, dividing the annulus into peripheral and transitional regions. Lamellae in the lateral and posterior aspects of the disc have a broad distribution of lamellar thicknesses throughout the annulus. In alternating lamellae, fibers are inclined with respect to the vertical axis of the spine in a layup structure. From the edge of the disc inward to the nucleus, this interlamellar angle decreases from +62 to +45 degrees. Within lamellae, the collagen fibers exhibit a planar crimped morphology. The plane of the waveform is inclined with respect to the vertical axis by the interlamellar angle. From the edge of the disc inward, the crimp angle increases from 20 to 45 degrees and the crimp period decreases from 26 to 20 um. A hierarchical model of the intervertebral disc has been developed that incorporates these morphological gradients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center