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Effects of advanced age on the morphometry and degenerative state of the cervical spine in a rat model

Aging causes changes in the geometry of the human cervical spine that may influence the tissue response to applied loads. Rat models are often used to study spinal cord injuries (SCI) and have the potential to enhance our understanding of the effect of age on SCI. The goal of this study was to characterize the morphometry and degenerative state of the cervical spine in Fisher 344 rats, and to determine the influence of age on these variables. Fifteen rats were split into three age groups: young adult (3 months of age), aged (12-18 months) and geriatric (30 months). Following tissue harvest we used a muCT scanner to image the cervical and upper thoracic spine from each specimen. Analysis software was used to measure variables including canal pinch diameter (the most rostral point on the dorsal aspect of a vertebral body to the most caudal aspect of the lamina on the immediately rostral vertebra), vertebral canal depth, width, and area, vertebral body height, depth, width, and area, and intervertebral disc thickness. Orthopaedic surgeons used midsagittal images to rate the degenerative state of the intervertebral discs. For all measures except disc thickness there was a significant increase (mean (SD) = 15.0 (9.7)%) for the aged compared to young specimens (P < 0.05). There were significant differences between the aged and geriatric specimens for only vertebral body depth (P = 0.016) and area (P = 0.020). Intervertebral disc degeneration was significantly greater on the ventral aspect of the spinal column (P < 0.001), with a trend toward increased degeneration in the geriatric specimens (P = 0.069). The results suggest that age-related morphometric differences may need to be accounted for in experimental aging models of SCI in rats Keywords : Adult,Age Factors,Aged,Aging,Animals,Anthropometry,Body Height,Cervical Vertebrae,diagnostic imaging,injuries,Intervertebral Disc,Intervertebral Disc Degeneration,Male,Models,Animal,pathology,physiopathology,Radiographic Image Interpretation,Computer-Assisted,Rats,Rats,Inbred F344,Software,Spinal Cord,Spinal Cord Injuries,Spine,X-Ray Microtomography,Young Adult,, Advanced,Age, hyperhidrosis london

Date of Publication : 2011 Aug

Authors : Laing AC;Cox R;Tetzlaff W;Oxland T;

Organisation : Injury Biomechanics and Aging Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. actlaing@uwaterloo.ca

Journal of Publication : Anat Rec (Hoboken )

Pubmed Link : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21714115

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