Intervertebral disc joint-level mechanics
Mechanical testing of the intervertebral disc in its joint space allows us to better understand how biological changes affect joint level biomechanics. Using a spinal motion segment, which includes a disc and its adjacent vertebrae, we can test the whole disc in torsion, compression, or creep. From the data obtained, we can make inferences about the disc’s ability to sustain or recover from different loads.
Work from our lab currently focuses on the role of mechanical loading in maintaining intervertebral disc health. Specifically, we are investigating the effects of spaceflight on the spine through collaborations with NASA’s Bone and Signaling Lab and the Biospecimen Sharing Program. We are also leveraging ground-based analogs to differentiate between spaceflight induced unloading and ground-based unloading. In addition to joint level discs mechanics, we also assess disc biochemical composition and vertebral body microstructure.
To improve the efficiency and robustness of mice disc testing, a new mounting method for murine lumbar disc joints that is easy to use, open-source, inexpensive, and mimics physiological conditions was developed and validated. This method maintains physiologic alignment and hydration all while only costing about $1 in PLA per sample to use. The details can be checked through the link here.
If you are interested in the most recent IVD joint-level research updates, please feel free to contact Shiyin Lim (shiyin_lim at berkeley dot edu)