Low back pain is a major socio-economic concern in this country. Although the exact cause for low back pain is unclear, the degenerative changes of the intervertebral disc (IVD) have been implicated as a possible primary etiologic factor. Poor nutritional supply is believed to be one of the mechanisms for disc degeneration. Due to the unique composition and structure of the materials and the complexity of the mechano-electrochemical coupling phenomena in IVD tissues, there is a lack of knowledge on transport properties of human IVDs or appropriate theoretical models for investigating nutrient transport in IVD systematically. The purpose of this application is to determine the transport properties and the constitutive models for these properties in human IVDs required for the development of a new mechano-electrochemical transport theory and finite element model in a subsequent grant application. The broad, long-term objectives of this project are to (1) elucidate the etiology of disc degeneration, (2) help develop strategies for restoring tissue function or retarding further disc degeneration, and (3) develop novel, less-invasive diagnostic tools for disc degeneration. In this research, we will determine the mechanical, physicochemical, and transport properties of human lumbar IVD tissues (Specific Aims #1-#5) and develop and validate new constitutive models for transport properties (Specific Aims #6 & #7). New technologies, based on mechano-electrochemical principles, will be developed for testing transport properties of IVD tissues, including strain-dependent hydraulic permeability, strain-dependent fixed charge density, strain-dependent electrical conductivity, and strain-dependent diffusivity of ions and nutrients (oxygen and glucose) in human lumbar discs. These properties will be correlated to the composition of the tissue, and will be used in developing the new constitutive theories in the research of nutritional supply in human IVDs. The advance in theory, knowledge on material properties, and techniques will have a significant impact on understanding the etiology of disc degeneration as well as on other areas of research, such as drug delivery in biological tissues. A plan for sharing and disseminating the theory, techniques, and data developed in this research is also included. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Skeletal Biology Structure and Regeneration Study Section (SBSR)
Program Officer
Panagis, James S
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University of Miami Coral Gables
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
Coral Gables
United States
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Jackson, Alicia R; Yuan, Tai-Yi; Huang, Chun-Yuh et al. (2012) Nutrient transport in human annulus fibrosus is affected by compressive strain and anisotropy. Ann Biomed Eng 40:2551-8
Huang, C-Y; Travascio, F; Gu, W Y (2012) Quantitative analysis of exogenous IGF-1 administration of intervertebral disc through intradiscal injection. J Biomech 45:1149-55
Travascio, Francesco; Gu, Wei Yong (2011) Simultaneous measurement of anisotropic solute diffusivity and binding reaction rates in biological tissues by FRAP. Ann Biomed Eng 39:53-65
Salvatierra, Jessica Czamanski; Yuan, Tai Yi; Fernando, Hanan et al. (2011) Difference in Energy Metabolism of Annulus Fibrosus and Nucleus Pulposus Cells of the Intervertebral Disc. Cell Mol Bioeng 4:302-310
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Jackson, Alicia R; Huang, Chun-Yuh; Gu, Wei Yong (2011) Effect of endplate calcification and mechanical deformation on the distribution of glucose in intervertebral disc: a 3D finite element study. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin 14:195-204
Jackson, Alicia R; Huang, Chun-Yuh C; Brown, Mark D et al. (2011) 3D finite element analysis of nutrient distributions and cell viability in the intervertebral disc: effects of deformation and degeneration. J Biomech Eng 133:091006
Travascio, Francesco; Zhao, Weizhao; Gu, Wei Yong (2009) Characterization of anisotropic diffusion tensor of solute in tissue by video-FRAP imaging technique. Ann Biomed Eng 37:813-23
Jackson, Ar; Gu, Wy (2009) TRANSPORT PROPERTIES OF CARTILAGINOUS TISSUES. Curr Rheumatol Rev 5:40
Travascio, Francesco; Jackson, Alicia R; Brown, Mark D et al. (2009) Relationship between solute transport properties and tissue morphology in human annulus fibrosus. J Orthop Res 27:1625-30

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