Factors affecting small molecule transport into the intervertebral disc

Linley, Sarah Elizabeth
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Ledet, Eric H.
Vashishth, Deepak
Wan, Leo Q.
Lawrence, James P.
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Biomedical engineering
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Low back pain is a serious social and economic issue, affecting up to eighty percent of the United States population in their lifetime. It is the leading cause of disability in the country, and is associated with an estimated yearly $190 billion in medical costs and lost wages. The most common cause of low back pain is degeneration of the intervertebral disc. The intervertebral disc is a unique in that it is the largest avsascular structure in the body, and relies on transport from the microvessels in the adjacent vertebral endplate to receive nutrients and expel waste products. While disc degeneration is a complex and multifactorial process, a compromise in disc nutrition is widely considered to be a significant contributor to the degenerative cascade. Therefore, the goal of this work was to elucidate mechanisms for enhancing net transport into the intervertebral disc in vivo. We hypothesized that net transport into the intervertebral disc could be increased by (1) increasing diffusion into the disc by augmenting the vasculature of the vertebral endplate region via an angiogenic drug and (2) augmenting diffusion with convection induced by cyclic mechanical compression of the intervertebral disc.
August 2014
School of Engineering
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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