Ovine models are used to study intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. The objective of the current study was to assess the naturally occurring age-related changes of the IVD that can be diagnosed by CT and MRI in the lumbar spine of sheep. We used CT and T2-weighted MR images to score the IVD (L6S1 to L1L2) in 41 sheep (age, 6 mo to 11 y) that were euthanized for reasons not related to musculoskeletal disease. T2 mapping and measurement of T2 time of L6S1 to L2L3 were performed in 22 of the sheep. Degenerative changes manifested as early as 2 y of age and occurred at every IVD level. Discs were more severely damaged in older sheep. The age effect of the L6S1 IVD was larger than the average age effect for the other IVD. The current study provides evidence that lesions similar to those encountered in humans can be identified by CT and MRI in lumbar spine of sheep. Ideally, research animals should be assessed at the initiation of preclinical trials to determine the extent of prevalent degenerative changes. The ovine lumbosacral disc seems particularly prone to degeneration and might be a favorable anatomic site for studying IVD degeneration.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2016|