Inter-lamellar shear resistance confers compressive stiffness in the intervertebral disc: An image-based modelling study on the bovine caudal disc

Adam, Clayton, Rouch, Philippe, & Skalli, Wafa (2015) Inter-lamellar shear resistance confers compressive stiffness in the intervertebral disc: An image-based modelling study on the bovine caudal disc. Journal of Biomechanics, 48(16), pp. 4303-4308.

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The intervertebral disc withstands large compressive loads (up to nine times bodyweight in humans) while providing flexibility to the spinal column. At a microstructural level, the outer sheath of the disc (the annulus fibrosus) comprises 12–20 annular layers of alternately crisscrossed collagen fibres embedded in a soft ground matrix. The centre of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) consists of a hydrated gel rich in proteoglycans. The disc is the largest avascular structure in the body and is of much interest biomechanically due to the high societal burden of disc degeneration and back pain. Although the disc has been well characterized at the whole joint scale, it is not clear how the disc tissue microstructure confers its overall mechanical properties. In particular, there have been conflicting reports regarding the level of attachment between adjacent lamellae in the annulus, and the importance of these interfaces to the overall integrity of the disc is unknown. We used a polarized light micrograph of the bovine tail disc in transverse cross-section to develop an image-based finite element model incorporating sliding and separation between layers of the annulus, and subjected the model to axial compressive loading. Validation experiments were also performed on four bovine caudal discs. Interlamellar shear resistance had a strong effect on disc compressive stiffness, with a 40% drop in stiffness when the interface shear resistance was changed from fully bonded to freely sliding. By contrast, interlamellar cohesion had no appreciable effect on overall disc mechanics. We conclude that shear resistance between lamellae confers disc mechanical resistance to compression, and degradation of the interlamellar interface structure may be a precursor to macroscopic disc degeneration.

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ID Code: 90982
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: intervertebral disc, compressive stiffness, interlamellar interface, shear resistance, finite element, disc degeneration, disc microstructure, polarized light micrograph, bovine disc
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.10.041
ISSN: 0021-9290
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Orthopaedics (110314)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2015 01:53
Last Modified: 27 May 2016 04:57

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