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Title: Paraspinal Myopathy-Induced Intervertebral Disc Degeneration and Thoracolumbar Kyphosis in TSC1mKO Mice Model - A Preliminary Study.
Authors: Hey, Hwee Weng Dennis 
Lam, Wing Moon Raymond 
Chan, Chloe Xiaoyun
Zhuo, Wen-Hai
Crombie, Elisa Marie
Tan, Tuan Chun
Chen, Way Cherng
Cool, Simon
Tsai, Shih Yin 
Keywords: Intervertebral Disc Degeneration
Paraspinal Muscle
Spinal Loading
Issue Date: 12-Oct-2021
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Citation: Hey, Hwee Weng Dennis, Lam, Wing Moon Raymond, Chan, Chloe Xiaoyun, Zhuo, Wen-Hai, Crombie, Elisa Marie, Tan, Tuan Chun, Chen, Way Cherng, Cool, Simon, Tsai, Shih Yin (2021-10-12). Paraspinal Myopathy-Induced Intervertebral Disc Degeneration and Thoracolumbar Kyphosis in TSC1mKO Mice Model - A Preliminary Study.. Spine J. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Increasing kyphosis of the spine in a human is a well-recognized clinical phenomenon that has been associated with back pain, poor physical performance and disability. The pathophysiology of age-related kyphosis is complex and has been associated with physiological changes in vertebrae, intervertebral disc (IVD) and paraspinal musculature, which current cross-sectional studies are unable to demonstrate. Creating an in vivo, paraspinal myopathic animal model for longitudinal study of these changes under controlled conditions is thus warranted. PURPOSE: To confirm the TSC1 gene knockout effect on paraspinal muscle musculature; to analyze the development of spinal kyphosis, IVD degeneration and vertebra structural changes in a longitudinal manner to gain insights into the relationship between these processes. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective cohort study of 28 female mice, divided into 4 groups - 9-months-old TSC1mKO (n=7), 9-months-old control (n=4),12-months-old TSC1mKO (n=8) and 12-months-old controls (n=9). METHODS: High resolution micro-computed tomography was used to measure sagittal spinal alignment (Cobb's angle), vertebral height, vertebral body wedging, disc height index (DHI), disc wedge index (DWI), histomorphometry of trabecular bone and erector spinae muscle cross-sectional area. Paraspinal muscle specimens were harvested to assess for myopathic features with H&E stain, muscle fiber size, density of triangular fiber and central nucleus with WGA/DAPI stain, and percentage of fibers with PGC-1α stain. Intervertebral discs were evaluated for disc score using FAST stain. RESULTS: Compared to controls, paraspinal muscle sections revealed features of myopathy in TSC1mKO mice similar to human sarcopenic paraspinal muscle. While there was significantly greater presence of small triangular fiber and density of central nucleus in 9-and 12-months-old TSC1mKO mice, significantly larger muscle fibers and decreased erector spinae muscle cross-sectional area were only found in 12-months-old TSC1mKO mice compared to controls. TSC1mKO mice developed accelerated thoracolumbar kyphosis, with significantly larger Cobb angles found only at 12 months old. Structural changes to the trabecular bone in terms of higher bone volume fraction and quality, as well as vertebral body wedging were observed only in 12-months-old TSC1mKO mice when compared to controls. Disc degeneration was observed as early as 9 months in TSC1mKO mice and corresponded with disc wedging. However, significant disc height loss was only observed when comparing 12-months-old TSC1mKO mice with controls. CONCLUSIONS: This study successfully shows the TSC1 gene knockout effect on the development of paraspinal muscle myopathy in a mouse which is characteristic of sarcopenia. The TSC1mKO mice is by far the best model available to study the pathological consequence of sarcopenia on mice spine. With paraspinal muscle myopathy established as early as 9 months, TSC1mKO mice developed disc degeneration and disc wedging. This is followed by kyphosis of the spine at 12 months with concomitant disc height loss and vertebral body wedging due to bone remodeling. Age-related bone loss was not found in our study, suggesting osteoporosis and myopathy-induced vertebral body wedging are likely two independent processes. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: NA.
Source Title: Spine J
ISSN: 18781632
DOI: 10.1016/j.spinee.2021.09.003
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