Send to

Choose Destination
J Orthop Res. 2008 Sep;26(9):1283-8. doi: 10.1002/jor.20526.

Intervertebral disc degeneration in a naturally occurring primate model: radiographic and biomechanical evidence.

Author information

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, Box 352600, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Classic degenerative disc disease is a serious health problem worldwide, whose etiological basis-mechanical stimulus, biochemical changes, or natural aging-is poorly understood. Animal models are critical to the study of degenerative disc disease initiation and progression and for attempts to regulate, ameliorate, or eliminate it. The macaque represents a primate model with natural disc degeneration that might serve to advance the field; we aimed to provide radiographic (morphologic) and biomechanical evidence of natural disc degeneration in this model. A factorial study design was used to examine the relationship between the radiographic appearance of disc degeneration and its biomechanical consequences. Eighteen macaques of advanced age (22.3 +/- 0.9 years) had radiographs taken to assess the degree of thoracolumbar intervertebral disc degeneration using a standard atlas method. Each spine was harvested and dynamic biomechanical tests were performed. Advancing disc degeneration (degree of disc space narrowing and osteophytosis) was associated with increased stiffness, decreased energy absorption, and increased natural frequency of the intervertebral disc. These associations linking the dynamics of the intervertebral disc and its degree of degeneration are similar to those found in humans. Our results indicate the macaque model with morphologic and biomechanical efficacy could aid in understanding the progression of disc degeneration and in developing therapeutic strategies to prevent or inhibit its course.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center