A Comparison of Two Ovine Lumbar Intervertebral Disc Injury Models for the Evaluation and Development of Novel Regenerative Therapies

Chris D. Daly, Peter Ghosh, Tanya Badal, Ronald Shimmon, Graham Jenkin, David Oehme, Justin Cooper-White, Idrees Sher, Ronil V. Chandra, Tony Goldschlager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design: Large animal research. Objective: Lumbar discectomy is the most commonly performed spinal surgical procedure. We investigated 2 large animal models of lumbar discectomy in order to study the regenerative capacity of mesenchymal stem cells following disc injury. Methods: Twelve adult ewes underwent baseline 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) followed by lumbar intervertebral disc injury by either drill bit (n = 6) or annulotomy and partial nucleotomy (APN) (n = 6). Necropsies were performed 6 months later. Lumbar spines underwent 3-T and 9.4-T MRI prior to histological, morphological and biochemical analysis. Results: Drill bit-injured (DBI) and APN-injured discs demonstrated increased Pfirrmann grades relative to uninjured controls (P <.005), with no difference between the 2 models. Disc height index loss was greater in the APN group compared with the DBI group (P <.005). Gross morphology injury scores were higher in APN than DBI discs (P <.05) and both were higher than controls (P <.005). Proteoglycan was reduced in the discs of both injury models relative to controls (P <.005), but lower in the APN group (P <.05). Total collagen of the APN group disc regions was higher than DBI and control discs (P <.05). Histology revealed more matrix degeneration, vascular infiltration, and granulation in the APN model. Conclusion: Although both models produced disc degeneration, the APN model better replicated the pathobiology of human discs postdiscectomy. We therefore concluded that the APN model was a more appropriate model for the investigation of the regenerative capacity of mesenchymal stem cells administered postdiscectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-859
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • animal model
  • discectomy
  • intervertebral disc
  • regeneration

Cite this