ABSTRACT: Lower lumbar vertebral endplates from young and old sand rats were assessed in an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved study for architectural endplate features using micro-computerized tomography (CT) 3-dimensional (3D) models and vascularization studies by an in vivo vascular tracer or immunocytochemical identification of blood vessels.
To assess endplate porosity and vascularization using microCT architectural analysis, an in vivo vascular tracer, and immunocytochemical identification of blood vessels in the endplate.
The vertebral endplates, also called cartilage endplates, form the superior and inferior, or cranial and caudal, boundaries of the disc. In the human being and sand rat, the cartilaginous endplate undergoes calcification with aging and is replaced by bone. Endplate sclerosis has long been thought to play a role in disc degeneration by decreasing nutrient availability to the disc, but this is still poorly understood. Previous work has identified increasing bone mineral density with aging and disc degeneration in the sand rat model.
microCT models of the lower lumbar endplates of vertebrae at L5-6 and L6-7 were constructed from 6 younger (mean age 11 months) and 21 older (mean age 25.6 months) sand rats. Architectural features were scored on a semiquantitative scale for smoothness of the endplate face, irregularities on the endplate margin, and endplate thickness. There were 2 smaller sets of animals (n = 18) evaluated for endplate vascularity following in vivo injection of a fluorescent vascular tracer or by the use of immunocytochemistry to identify blood vessels.
microCT revealed a solid bony surface to the endplate, which was not penetrated by vasculature; with aging/disc degeneration, there was roughening and pitting of the plate surface, and the development of irregular margins. In L5-6 and L6-7, sites of prominent disc degeneration evident on radiographs, the proportion of abnormalities in surface smoothness, margin irregularity, and endplate thickening were all statistically significant in both younger and older animals (P < or = 0.0027). More severe changes were evident in the caudal versus cranial endplate surfaces. Histologic study of vascular tracer showed that there was no penetration of the disc by vascular supply from the endplate; this was verified by immunocytochemical identification of blood vessels. The canal system within the endplate was a complex 3D interconnected network.
Findings show that disc degeneration in the sand rat occurs concomitantly with marked architectural bony changes on the endplate face, including loss of smoothness and development of irregular bony margins. Vascular connections were not present between the endplate and disc; this was verified with microCT studies, in vivo vascular tracers, and traditional immunocytochemistry. The canal system within the imaged endplate was revealed to consist of a complex 3D interconnected network.
Spine 12/2005; 30(23):2593-600. · 2.08 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Low dietary magnesium (Mg) may be a risk factor for osteoporosis. In animals, severe Mg deficiency (0.04% of nutrient requirement [NR]) results in bone loss. We have also found that a more moderate dietary Mg restriction (10% of NR) also resulted in loss of bone. We now report the effect of Mg intake of 25% NR on bone and mineral metabolism in the rat. Serum Mg, Ca, PTH, 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D, alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, and pyridinoline were measured at 2, 4, and 6 months in control and Mg-deficient animals. Femurs and tibias were collected for mineral content, micro-computerized tomography, histomorphometry, and immunocytochemical localization. Profound Mg deficiency developed as assessed by marked hypomagnesemia and 27% reduction in bone Mg content. Serum calcium was not significantly different between groups. Mg depletion resulted in a significantly lower serum PTH concentrations. Serum 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D was also significantly lower. No difference was noted in markers of bone turnover. Histomorphometry and micro-computerized tomography demonstrated decreased bone volume and trabecular thickness. No difference was observed for osteoclast or osteoblast number. Inflammatory cytokines may contribute to bone loss. We found that immunocytochemical localization of TNFalpha in osteoclasts was increased 138-150%. This increase in TNFalpha may be due to increased substance P as it was found to be elevated from 179% to 432%. These data demonstrate that Mg intake of 25% NR in the rat causes lower bone mass which may be related to increased release of substance P and TNFalpha.
Bone 09/2005; 37(2):211-9. · 4.02 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The relationship between disc degeneration and end plate sclerosis is poorly understood. The sand rat is an excellent, economical small-animal model in which disc degeneration is age related, spontaneous, reliable, and well characterized. This model is used here to evaluate disc degeneration, disc cell viability, and vertebral end plate bone mineral density (BMD) in lumbar sites.
To determine the proportion of live and dead cells and end plate bone mineral density in the aging sand rat annulus.
Young and old sand rats were used in work approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Outcome measures were the percentage of live/dead annulus cells in the disc and the BMD of cranial and caudal end plates of lumbar vertebrae.
Bone densitometry was used to obtain endplate BMD on lumbar spines of 16 young sand rats aged 2 to 6 months and 26 older animals aged 22 to 46 months. X-ray films were analyzed for wedging, end plate calcification, and disc-space narrowing. Additional discs were also harvested and incubated with fluorochromes, and the percentage of live or dead cells were determined for the outer, inner annulus, and entire annulus.
Radiographically old animals had significantly greater incidence of lumbar wedging (p<0.004) and a significantly greater incidence of end plate calcification and disc-space narrowing (p<0.01). In the live-dead study, the mean percentage of dead annulus cells for the three age groups were significantly different for the outer annulus (p<0.001), inner annulus (p=0.005), and total annulus (p<0.0001). The percentages of dead cells for the entire annulus were 46.14%+/-7.99% (age 2-6 months), 48.13%+/-17.32% (age, 13-19 months), and 76.80%+/-7.27% (age 26-38 months). The percentage of dead disc cells correlated significantly with age for outer annulus, inner annulus, and total annulus (p<0.006). The percentage of dead cells in the entire annulus and the inner annulus correlated significantly with end plate BMD (p<0.02).
Data are novel and show that in very aged sand rats, end plate BMD is significantly greater than that of young animals. Live/dead cell analyses showed increasing cell death in both outer and inner annulus, which correlated significantly with age and with end plate BMD.
The Spine Journal 8(3):475-81. · 3.29 Impact Factor