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25-04-2024 | ISSLS Prize

ISSLS prize in clinical/bioengineering science 2024: How standing and supine positions influence nutrient transport in human lumbar discs?—A serial post-contrast MRI study evaluating interplay between convection and diffusion

Authors: J. Naresh-Babu, Gajendra, G. S. Prajwal

Published in: European Spine Journal

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Abstract

Purpose

The intervertebral disc being avascular depends on diffusion and load-based convection for essential nutrient supply and waste removal. There are no reliable methods to simultaneously investigate them in humans under natural loads. For the first time, present study aims to investigate this by strategically employing positional MRI and post-contrast studies in three physiological positions: supine, standing and post-standing recovery.

Methods

A total of 100 healthy intervertebral discs from 20 volunteers were subjected to a serial post-contrast MR study after injecting 0.3 mmol/kg gadodiamide and T1-weighted MR images were obtained at 0, 2, 6, 12 and 24 h. At each time interval, images were obtained in three positions, i.e. supine, standing and post-standing recovery supine. The signal intensity values at endplate zone and nucleus pulposus were measured. Enhancement percentages were calculated and analysed comparing three positions.

Results

During unloaded supine position, there was slow gradual increase in enhancement reaching peak at 6 h. When the subjects assumed standing position, there was immediate loss of enhancement at nucleus pulposus which resulted in reciprocal increase in enhancement at endplate zone (washout phenomenon). Interestingly, when subjects assumed the post-standing recovery position, the nucleus pulposus regained the enhancement and endplate zone showed reciprocal loss (pumping-in phenomenon).

Conclusions

For the first time, present study documented acute effects of physiological loading and unloading on nutrition of human discs in vivo. While during rest, solutes diffused gradually into disc, the diurnal short loading and unloading redistribute small solutes by convection. Standing caused rapid solute depletion but promptly regained by assuming resting supine position.
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Metadata
Title
ISSLS prize in clinical/bioengineering science 2024: How standing and supine positions influence nutrient transport in human lumbar discs?—A serial post-contrast MRI study evaluating interplay between convection and diffusion
Authors
J. Naresh-Babu
Gajendra
G. S. Prajwal
Publication date
25-04-2024
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
European Spine Journal
Print ISSN: 0940-6719
Electronic ISSN: 1432-0932
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-024-08243-4