Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the most common form of scoliosis that affects a significant number of young teenagers, mainly females (0.2-6 % of the population). Historically, several hypothesis were postulated to explain the aetiology of AIS, including genetic factors, biochemical factors, mechanics, neurological, muscular factors and hormonal factors. The neuroendocrine hypothesis involving a melatonin deficiency as the source for AIS has generated great interest. This hypothesis stems from the fact that experimental pinealectomy in chicken, and more recently in rats maintained in a bipedal mode, produces a scoliosis. The biological relevance of melatonin in idiopathic scoliosis is controversial since no significant decrease in circulating melatonin level has been observed in a majority of studies. Analysis of melatonin signal transduction in musculoskeletal tissues of AIS patients demonstrated for the first time a defect occurring in a cell autonomous manner in different cell types isolated from AIS patients suffering of the most severe form of that disease. These results have led to a classification of AIS patients in three different functional groups depending on their response to melatonin, suggesting that the cause of AIS involves several genes. Molecular analysis showed that melatonin signaling dysfunction is triggered by an increased phosphorylation of Gi proteins inactivating their function. This discovery has led to development of a first scoliosis screening assay. This test, using blood sample, is currently in clinical validation process in Canada and could be used for screening children at high risk of developing AIS.
"Twenty-four reviews pertaining to the subject have been selected [2,17,19,20,27,43,44,54,55,62,67–69,72,73,78, 79,82,88,91,94,103,107,115]. Among these publications, eight dealt with the different types of etiopathogenesis        . The other publications focused on specific subjects: three on genetics   , two on the role of melatonin  , two on the role of the autonomic nervous system  , two on calmodulin platelet abnormalities  , two on association with syringomyelia  , one on biochemical factors , one on relationships with the puberty periods , one on bone mineral density , one on the vestibular system , and one on biomechanical phenomena . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Idiopathic scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformation of the spine. As its name suggests, its pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Enhanced comprehension of its pathogenesis would be likely to improve current therapeutic results. While the hereditary and genetic origin of scoliosis appears unassailable and several chromosomes are known to be involved in transmission, the role assumed by each individual chromosome remains uncertain, and the mechanisms leading to the expression of scoliosis have yet to be determined. Even though a large number of pathogenetic hypotheses have been put forward and numerous studies carried out, none of these hypotheses have won unanimous approval, and the controversy remains persistent.
The objective of this paper is to identify the existing hypotheses and to group them within large-scale etiological categories.
We examined the Pubmed and Goggle databases using as keywords "idiopathic scoliosis" and "pathogenesis". The search was limited to articles in English and French.
The vicious cycle hypothesis is markedly preponderant. However, no existing pathogenetic model adequately accounts for the formation of scolioses.
We are proposing four main pathogenetic mechanisms: asymmetric bone growth dysregulation, susceptibility of bones to deformation, abnormal passive spinal system maintenance and disturbed active spinal system maintenance.
Annals of physical and rehabilitation medicine 01/2012; 55(2):128-38. DOI:10.1016/j.rehab.2012.01.003
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is no generally accepted scientific theory for the causes of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). As part of its mission to widen understanding of scoliosis etiology, the International Federated Body on Scoliosis Etiology (IBSE) introduced the electronic focus group (EFG) as a means of increasing debate on knowledge of important topics. This has been designated as an on-line Delphi discussion. The Statement for this debate was written by Dr WCW Chu and colleagues who examine the spinal cord to vertebral growth interaction during adolescence in scoliosis. Using the multi-planar reconstruction technique of magnetic resonance imaging they investigated the relative length of spinal cord to vertebral column including ratios in 28 girls with AIS (mainly thoracic or double major curves) and 14 age-matched normal girls. Also evaluated were cerebellar tonsillar position, somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs), and clinical neurological examination. In severe AIS compared with normal controls, the vertebral column is significantly longer without detectable spinal cord lengthening. They speculate that anterior spinal column overgrowth relative to a normal length spinal cord exerts a stretching tethering force between the two ends, cranially and caudally leading to the initiation and progression of thoracic AIS. They support and develop the Roth-Porter concept of uncoupled neuro-osseous growth in the pathogenesis of AIS which now they prefer to term 'asynchronous neuro-osseous growth'. Morphological evidence about the curve apex suggests that the spinal cord is also affected, and a 'double pathology' is suggested. AIS is viewed as a disorder with a wide spectrum and a common neuroanatomical abnormality namely, a spinal cord of normal length but short relative to an abnormally lengthened anterior vertebral column. Neuroanatomical changes and/or abnormal neural function may be expressed only in severe cases. This asynchronous neuro-osseous growth concept is regarded as one component of a larger concept. The other component relates to the brain and cranium of AIS subjects because abnormalities have been found in brain (infratentorial and supratentorial) and skull (vault and base). The possible relevance of systemic melatonin-signaling pathway dysfunction, platelet calmodulin levels and putative vertebral vascular biology to the asynchronous neuro-osseous growth concept is discussed. A biomechanical model to test the spinal component of the concept is in hand. There is no published research on the biomechanical properties of the spinal cord for scoliosis specimens. Such research on normal spinal cords includes movements (kinematics), stress-strain responses to uniaxial loading, and anterior forces created by the stretched cord in forward flexion that may alter sagittal spinal shape during adolescent growth. The asynchronous neuro-osseous growth concept for the spine evokes controversy. Dr Chu and colleagues respond to five other concepts of pathogenesis for AIS and suggest that relative anterior spinal overgrowth and biomechanical growth modulation may also contribute to AIS pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) represents the most frequently occurring form of scoliosis that occurs and progresses in puberty. This critical period coincides with many biological changes related to estrogens. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of 17-beta-estradiol on the responsiveness of AIS osteoblasts to melatonin and the cross-talk between estrogen and melatonin at the levels of the G(S)alpha and G(i)alpha proteins. Human osteoblasts derived from AIS (n = 40) and control patients (n = 10) were first screened for their functional response to the melatonin and 17-beta-estradiol. In response to the 17-beta-estradiol in a specific group of scoliotic patients, the level of 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) was significantly decreased when compared with the level observed in the presence of increasing concentrations of melatonin alone. Ours results provide strong evidence of the cross-talk between 17-beta-estradiol and melatonin signaling in human AIS osteoblasts. These results indicate a novel role for 17-beta-estradiol and melatonin in AIS, controlling the coupling of G(S)alpha protein and MT2 receptor on human osteoblasts. We found that the increased cAMP levels induced by melatonin can be corrected by the treatment of the cells with 17-beta-estradiol. Thus, estrogens or estrogen receptor agonists become important compounds to consider in AIS osteoblast cell functioning. Consequently, our results add a new facet to the understanding the role and function of melatonin in AIS.
Journal of Pineal Research 06/2008; 45(4):383-93. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-079X.2008.00603.x · 9.60 Impact Factor
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