eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2021   Volume No 42 – pages 166-178

Title: Correlation between magnetic resonance, X-ray imaging alterations and histological changes in an ovine model of age-related disc degeneration

Authors: N Bouhsina, C Decante, JB Hardel, S Madec, J Abadie, A Hamel, C Le Visage, J Lesoeur, J Guicheux, J Clouet, M Fusellier

Address: INSERM, UMRS 1229, Regenerative Medicine and Skeleton (RMeS), Universiteg de Nantes, ONIRIS, Nantes, F-44042, France

E-mail: jerome.guicheux at

Abstract: Sheep are one of the many animal models used to investigate the pathophysiology of disc degeneration and the regenerative strategies for intervertebral disc (IVD) disease. To date, few studies have thoroughly explored ageing of ovine lumbar IVDs. Hence, the objective of the present study was to concomitantly assess the development of spontaneous age-related lumbar IVD degeneration in sheep using X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as histological analyses. 8 young ewes (< 48 months old) and 4 skeletally mature ewes (> 48 months old) were included. Disc height, Pfirrmann and modified Pfirrmann grades as well as T2-wsi and T2 times were assessed by X-ray and MRI. The modified Boos score was also determined using histology sections. Pfirrmann (2 to 3) and modified Pfirrmann (2 to 4) grades as well as Boos scores (7 to 13) gradually increased with ageing, while T2-weighted signal intensity (1.18 to 0.75), T2 relaxation time (114.36 to 70.65 ms) and disc height (4.1 to 3.2 mm) decreased significantly. All the imaging modalities strongly correlated with the histology (p < 0.0001). The present study described the suitability of sheep as a model of age-related IVD degeneration by correlation of histological tissue alterations with the changes observed using X-ray and MRI. Given the structural similarities with humans, the study demonstrated that sheep warrant being considered as a pertinent animal model to investigate IVD regenerative strategies without induction of degeneration.

Key Words: Intervertebral disc, degeneration, sheep, magnetic resonance imaging , X-ray imaging, histology.

Publication date: September 24th 2021

Article download: Pages 166-178 (PDF file)

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