Regional Variation in Tensile Properties and Biochemical Composition of the Human Lumbar Anulus Fibrosus

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Study DesignThe structure-function relationship of anulus fibrosus of nondegenerate lumba intervertebral discs was investigated.ObjectivesThe tensile properties and biochemical composition of single lamella specimens from human anulus librosus and their variations with anatomic region were determined.Summery of Background DataRegional differences in composition and ultrastructure suggest differences in tensile properties.MethodsSingle lamella specimens were isolated from the anulus, equilibrated in 0.15 ± NaCl and tested in uniaxial tension using a slow strain-rate protocol. Adjacent specimens were used to determine biochemical composition (Including nycration, collagen, proteonlycan, and hydroxypyridinium crosslink density). Tensile properties, biochemical composition, and anatomic location were compared.ResultsSignificant radial and circumferential variations in tensile properties of anulus were detected, with the anterior being, stiffer than the posterolateral regions, and the outer being stiffer than the inner regions.ConclusionsThe regional differences in tensile properties may result predominantly from structural rather than compositional variations and may contribute to the clinical frequency of anulus failure in the postarolateral region.

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