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J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact, 2015; 15(3): 294-300, PMID: 26350949

Loss and re-adaptation of lumbar intervertebral disc water signal intensity after prolonged bedrest.

Year: 2015

Kordi M, Belavy DL, Armbrecht G, Sheikh A, Felsenberg D, Trudel G
English Institute of Sport, Manchester, United Kingdom.


The adaptation and re-adaptation process of the intervertebral disc (IVD) to prolonged bedrest is important for understanding IVD physiology and IVD herniations in astronauts. Little information is available on changes in IVD composition. In this study, 24 male subjects underwent 60-day bedrest and In/Out Phase magnetic resonance imaging sequences were performed to evaluate IVD shape and water signal intensity. Scanning was performed before bedrest (baseline), twice during bedrest, and three, six and twenty-four months after bedrest. Area, signal intensity, average height, and anteroposterior diameter of the lumbar L3/4 and L4/5 IVDs were measured. At the end of bedrest, disc height and area were significantly increased with no change in water signal intensity. After bedrest, we observed reduced IVD signal intensity three months (p=0.004 versus baseline), six months (p=0.003 versus baseline), but not twenty-four months (p=0.25 versus baseline) post-bedrest. At these same time points post-bedrest, IVD height and area remained increased. The reduced lumbar IVD water signal intensity in the first months after bedrest implies a reduction of glycosaminoglycans and/or free water in the IVD. Subsequently, at two years after bedrest, IVD hydration status returned towards pre-bedrest levels, suggesting a gradual, but slow, re-adaptation process of the IVD after prolonged bedrest.

GID: 4514; Last update: 16.09.2017
More information: Original Article