Current Issue - May/June 2023 - Vol 26 Issue 3


  1. 2023;26;E181-E189Assessment of a Discogenic Pain Animal Model Induced by Applying Continuous Shear Force to Intervertebral Discs
    Animal Study
    Nackhwan Kim, MD, PhD, Chan Sam Moon, MD, PhD, Tae-Hong Lim, PhD, Junghwa Hong, PhD, and Donggeun Sul, PhD.

BACKGROUND: Chronic discogenic pain includes degeneration-driven changes under the mechanical macroenvironment of an internal disc, which leads to the progressive changes of biochemical microenvironment that induce abnormal ingrowth of the nociceptor. The propriety of the animal model reflecting the pathologic natural history has not been assessed.

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the biochemical evidence of chronic discogenic pain by employing a discogenic pain animal model induced by shear force.

STUDY DESIGN: Animal study utilizing rats in vivo model of a shear force device.

METHODS: Fifteen rats were divided into 3 groups (n = 5/group) according to the period for which sustained dorsoventral shear force was applied (1 week or 2 weeks); the control group received the spinous attachment unit, without a spring. Pain data were collected using von Frey hairs on the hind paws. Growth factor and cytokine abundance was analyzed in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and plasma.

RESULTS: After the shear force devices were installed, the significant variables were found to markedly increase in the DRG tissues of the 2-week group; however, they were not altered in the 1-week group. Specifically, interleukin (IL)-6, neurogrowth factor (NGF), transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-beta, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were increased. Meanwhile, the plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-5, IL-6, IL-12, and NGF were increased in the 1-week group; whereas, TGF-alpha, PDGF-beta, and VEGF were increased in the 2-week group.

LIMITATIONS: The limitations include the general limitations of quadrupedal animals, the poor precision and flexural deformation of shear force devices, inaccuracies regarding the evaluation of histological denaturation, and short intervention and observational periods.

CONCLUSIONS: This animal model effectively generated biochemical responses to shear loading with evidence of neurological changes induced without direct macrodamage to the outer annulus fibrosus. Chemical internals were induced by mechanical externals among the contributing factors of chronic discogenic pain.

KEY WORDS: Discogenic pain, dorsal root ganglion, intervertebral discs, low back pain, shear force, interleukin, growth factor, animal model