Contrast-enhanced microCT evaluation of degeneration following partial and full width injuries to the mouse lumbar intervertebral disc

Remy E. Walk, Hong Joo Moon, Simon Y. Tang, Munish C. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A targeted injury to the mouse intervertebral disc (IVD) is often used to recapitulate the degenerative cascade of the human pathology. Since injuries can vary in magnitude and localization, it is critical to examine the effects of different injuries on IVD degeneration. We thus evaluated the degenerative progression resulting from either a partial- or full-width injury to the mouse lumbar IVD using contrast-enhanced micro-computed tomography and histological analyses. A lateral-retroperitoneal surgical approach was used to access the lumbar IVD, and the injuries to the IVD were produced by either incising one side of the annulus fibrosus or puncturing both sides of the annulus fibrosus. Female C57BL/6J mice of 3–4 months age were used in this study. They were divided into three groups to undergo partial-width, full-width, or sham injuries. The L5/6 and L6/S1 lumbar IVDs were surgically exposed, and then the L6/S1 IVDs were injured using either a surgical scalpel (partial-width) or a 33G needle (full-width), with the L5/6 serving as an internal control. These animals recovered and then euthanized at either 2-, 4-, or 8-weeks after surgery for evaluation. The IVDs were assessed for degeneration using contrast-enhanced microCT (CEµCT) and histological analysis. The high-resolution 3D CEµCT evaluation of the IVD confirmed that the respective injuries were localized within one side of the annulus fibrosus or spanned the full width of the IVD. The full-width injury caused significant deteriorations in the nucleus pulposus, annulus fibrous and at the interfaces after 2 weeks, which was sustained through the 8 weeks, while the partial width injury caused localized disruptions that remained limited to the annulus fibrosus. The use of CEµCT revealed distinct IVD degeneration profiles resulting from partial- and full-width injuries. The partial width injury may serve as an alternative model for IVD degeneration resulting from localized annulus fibrosus injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15555
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Contrast-enhanced microCT evaluation of degeneration following partial and full width injuries to the mouse lumbar intervertebral disc'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this