3D virtual reconstruction and quantitative assessment of the human intervertebral disc’s annulus fibrosus: a DTI tractography study

Dan Stein, Yaniv Assaf, Gali Dar, Haim Cohen, Viviane Slon, Einat Kedar, Bahaa Medlej, Janan Abbas, Ori Hay, Daniel Barazany, Israel Hershkovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The intervertebral disc’s (IVD) annulus fibrosus (AF) retains the hydrostatic pressure of the nucleus pulposus (NP), controls the range of motion, and maintains the integrity of the motion segment. The microstructure of the AF is not yet fully understood and quantitative characterization is lacking, leaving a caveat in modern medicine’s ability to prevent and treat disc failure (e.g., disc herniation). In this study, we show a reconstruction of the 3D microstructure of the fibers that constitute the AF via MRI diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) followed by fiber tracking. A quantitative analysis presents an anisotropic structure with significant architectural differences among the annuli along the width of the fibrous belt. These findings indicate that the outer annuli's construction reinforces the IVD while providing a sufficient degree of motion. Our findings also suggest an increased role of the outer annuli in IVD nourishment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6815
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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