Models available for the study of intervertebral disc degeneration are designed to answer many important questions. In vitro biologic models employ a variety of cell, tissue, or organ culture techniques with culture conditions that partially mimic the cellular environment of the degenerated human intervertebral disc. In vitro biomechanical models include intervertebral disc or motion-segment loading experiments as well as finite element modeling techniques. The literature describes numerous in vivo animal models for use in the study of intervertebral disc degeneration, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Human-subject studies have included the use of magnetic resonance imaging and other techniques to assess diffusion into the intervertebral disc, to measure intradiscal pressure, to conduct kinematic or stiffness studies of lumbar motion segments, and to evaluate muscular forces on the spine. Although all of these studies are helpful in answering specific questions, their relevance in assessing disc degeneration in patients with symptoms of discogenic pain must be carefully considered.
In support of their research for or preparation of this manuscript, Drs. An and Masuda received academic grants from Stryker Biotech, Zimmer Spine, and DePuy Spine. In addition, one or more of the authors received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity (Dr. An is a consultant for Stryker Inc. and Zimmer Spine, and Dr. Masuda is a consultant for DePuy Spine). No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
- Copyright © 2006 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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