Intervertebral disc model debates continue over disc degeneration factors.
Researchers continue to discuss the risk factors in the development of intervertebral disc disease especially in the arenas of mechanics vs. genetics. Recently a group of researchers from Japan published a scientific paper in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research. In the manuscript, they determined that static compression of a rat tail intervertebral disc caused cell death. They demonstrated the effect of static compression for zero, one, and seven days and looked at the tissue up to fifty-six days after. They used MRI as well a histological analysis among other techniques. The force they used was 1.3 MPa which is about 188psi.
In the intervertebral disc there are two differing types of cells: notochordal cells and non-notochordal cells.
The notochordal cells (which tend to disappear in the human around adolescence) have been thought to be a significant contributing factor in the development of degeneration.
Interestingly, static compression showed apoptosis in the non-notochordal cells and elicited varying degrees of degeneration.
This kind of continued intervertebral disc research will channel our understandings of degeneration and importantly shed light on regenerative strategies. Emphasizing the importance of proper mechanics by way of manual or exercise therapy and its relationship to the biomechanical environment should provide continued clues for physicians to improve spinal problem outcomes.