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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1989 Aug;14(8):867-9.

End-plate lesions of the lumbar spine.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


It has been suggested that the pattern of development and attrition of blood vessels and notochord remnants leaves congenitally weak points in the cartilage disc plates. There is strong presumptive evidence that nuclear prolapse can take place through these weak spots in the cartilage plates to form Schmorl's nodes. It has been postulated that the development of Schmorl's nodes may also lead to anomalies of the vasculature in the end-plates, which may lead to further end-plate lesions. In the present study, we have examined lumbar intervertebral discs and vertebrae from eight specimens with Schmorl's nodes and 12 specimens without nodes. The specimens examined were from individuals ranging in age from 17 to 90 years. The specimens were sectioned at 150 microns, stained, and the percentage of the bone cartilage interface occupied by marrow spaces was measured using a microscope with an ocular micrometer. The specimens with Schmorl's nodes had a significantly greater proportion of disc marrow contacts than did the normal vertebrae.

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