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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1982 Oct;(170):296-302.

Nutrition of the intervertebral disc: effect of fluid flow on solute transport.


Adult dogs were injected intravenously with 35S-sulphate, and moderately exercised for one to six hours to measure isotope concentrations and profiles throughout the intervertebral discs. The isotope profiles were also observed in control animals that had been under anesthesia between injections and death. In both sets of animals, the profiles were in agreement with those expected for isotope transport by diffusion. This agreement indicates that fluid "pumping" during movement has an insignificant effect on transport of nutrients into the disc. Small solutes, e.g., O2, glucose, and sulphate, are transported into the disc chiefly by diffusion. However, calculations show that because of their low diffusivities, "pumping" may increase the rate of transport of large solutes into the disc, as it does in articular cartilage.

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