The biophysical properties of the annulus fibrosus of the intervertebral disc are determined by collagen and elastin fibres. The progression of scoliosis is accompanied by a number of pathological changes concerning these structural proteins. This is a major cause of dysfunction of the intervertebral disc.The object of the study were annulus fibrosus samples excised from intervertebral discs of healthy subjects and patients treated surgically for scoliosis in the thoracolumbar or lumbar spine. The research material was subjected to structural analysis by light microscopy and quantitative analysis of the content of collagen types I, II, III and IV as well as elastin by immunoenzymatic test (ELISA). A statistical analysis was conducted to assess the impact of the sampling site (Mann–Whitney test, α=0.05) and scoliosis (Wilcoxon matched pairs test, α=0.05) on the obtained results.The microscopic studies conducted on scoliotic annulus fibrosus showed a significant architectural distortion of collagen and elastin fibres. Quantitative biochemical assays demonstrated region-dependent distribution of only collagen types I and II in the case of healthy intervertebral discs whereas in the case of scoliotic discs region-dependent distribution concerned all examined proteins of the extracellular matrix. Comparison of scoliotic and healthy annulus fibrosus revealed a significant decrease in the content of collagen type I and elastin as well as a slight increase in the proportion of collagen types III and IV. The content of collagen type II did not differ significantly between both groups. The observed anomalies are a manifestation of degenerative changes affecting annulus fibrosus of the intervertebral disc in patients suffering from scoliosis.
Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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