Puncture of a Disc and Application of Nucleus Pulposus Induces Disc Herniation-Like Changes and Osteophytes. An Experimental Study in Rats
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2011
First Page: 154
Last Page: 159
Publisher ID: TOORTHJ-5-154
Article History:Received Date: 24/3/2011
Revision Received Date: 13/4/2011
Acceptance Date: 14/4/2011
Electronic publication date: 28/4/2011
Collection year: 2011
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
It has been observed that puncture of a lumbar disc may induce formation of a nodule on the surface of the disc and osteophytes. It is not known if this is based on the presence of a foreign tissue or specifically by the presence of nucleus pulposus or on the disc injury. In this study these mechanisms were separated by comparing disc puncture with application of nucleus pulposus without disc injury, with superficial disc injury without nucleus pulposus and with application of fat. Fifty rats underwent facetectomy of the left L4-5 facet. Ten additional rats were used as donor rats. The rats were exposed to disc puncture (n=10), application of homologous nucleus pulposus (n=10), application of homologous fat tissue (n=10), superficial disc injury (n=10) and ten rats served as control. After 3 weeks the rats were examined macroscopically regarding presence of disc nodules and osteophytes. A limited histological analysis was performed to obtain a microscopic overview of any observed changes. In rats with application of fat, superficial disc injury and in sham controls there were almost no changes observed. However, in rats with disc puncture and applied nucleus pulposus there were clear disc nodules and osteophytes noted. Microscopically the nodules comprised granulation tissue and the osteophytes cortical bone. In conclusion, the data indicate that the presence of nucleus pulposus is more likely to be responsible for the formation of disc nodules and osteophytes than disc injury or the presence of a foreign tissue. This may provide new insights in the mechanisms regarding the formation of disc herniations and osteophytes.