3 years ago

Computational study of the role of fluid content and flow on the lumbar disc response in cyclic compression: Replication of in vitro and in vivo conditions

The intervertebral disc viscoelastic response is governed primarily by its fluid content and flow. Invivo measurements demonstrate that the disc volume, fluid content, height and nucleus pressure completely recover during resting even after diurnal loading with twice longer duration (16 vs. 8 hours). In view of much longer periods required for the recovery of disc height and pressure in vitro, concerns have been raised on the fluid inflow through the endplates that might be hampered by clogged blood vessels post mortem. This in silico study aimed to identify fluid-flow dependent response of discs and conditions essential to replicate in vitro and in vivo observations. An osmo-poroelastic finite element model of the human lumbar L4-L5 disc-bone unit was used. Simulating earlier in vitro experiments on bovine discs, the loading protocol started with 8 hours preload at 0.06MPa followed by 30 high/low compression loading cycles each lasting 7.5minutes at 0.5/0.06MPa, respectively. Three different endplate configurations were investigated: free in- and outflow, no inflow and closed endplates with no flow. Additionally, the preload magnitude was increased from 0.06 MPa to 0.28MPa and 0.50MPa, or the initial nucleus hydration was reduced from 83% to 50%. For 0.06MPa preload, the model with no inflow best matched in vitro trends. The model with free inflow increased segment height and nucleus pressure while the model with no fluid inflow resulted in a relatively small recovery in segment height and a rather constant nucleus pressure during unloading periods. Results highlight an excessive mobile fluid content as well as a restricted fluid inflow through endplates as likely causes of the discrepancies between in vivo and in vitro studies. To replicate in vivo conditions in vitro and in silico, disc hydration level should be controlled by adequate selection of preload magnitude/period and/or mobile fluid porosity.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0021929017305729

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