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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Feb 2023 - 17 Feb 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Neurobiology

Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Jan 30



Lumbar endplate microfracture injury induces Modic-like changes, intervertebral disc degeneration and spinal cord sensitization – An In Vivo Rat Model.


Wang D, Lai A, Gansau J, Seifert AC, Munitz J, Zaheer K, Bhadouria N, Lee Y, Nasser P, Laudier DM, Holguin N, Hecht AC, Iatridis JC


: Endplate (EP) injury plays critical roles in painful IVD degeneration since Modic changes (MCs) are highly associated with pain. Models of EP microfracture that progress to painful conditions are needed to better understand pathophysiological mechanisms and screen therapeutics. : Establish in vivo rat lumbar EP microfracture model with painful phenotype. : In vivo rat study to characterize EP-injury model with characterization of IVD degeneration, vertebral bone marrow remodeling, spinal cord sensitization, and pain-related behaviors. : EP-driven degeneration was induced in 5-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats L4-5 and L5-6 IVDs through the proximal vertebral body injury with intradiscal injections of TNFα (n=7) or PBS (n=6), compared to Sham (surgery without EP-injury, n=6). The EP-driven model was assessed for IVD height, histological degeneration, pain-like behaviors (hindpaw von Frey and forepaw grip test), lumbar spine MRI and μCT analyses, and spinal cord substance P (SubP). : EP injuries induced IVD degeneration with decreased IVD height and MRI T2 values. EP injury with PBS and TNFα both showed MC type1-like changes on T1 and T2-weighted MRI, trabecular bone remodeling on μCT, and damage in cartilage EP adjacent to the injury. EP injuries caused significantly decreased paw withdrawal threshold and reduced grip forces, suggesting increased pain sensitivity and axial spinal discomfort. Spinal cord dorsal horn SubP was significantly increased, indicating spinal cord sensitization. : EP microfracture can induce crosstalk between vertebral bone marrow, IVD and spinal cord with chronic pain-like conditions. : This rat EP microfracture model of IVD degeneration was validated to induce MC-like changes and pain-like behaviors that we hope will be useful to screen therapies and improve treatment for EP-drive pain.