J Orthop Surg Res. 2023 Sep 7;18(1):666. doi: 10.1186/s13018-023-04072-1.
BACKGROUND: Degenerative spine conditions are common and frequent clinical diseases, and adjacent segment disease (ASD) after spinal fusion (SF) is a common complication after spinal fusion (SF). In this study, we established an animal model of ASD after interbody fusion to observe the morphologic changes of adjacent segment (AS) disks and to determine the expression and significance of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) in ASD tissues to provide a good experimental basis and reference for clinical prevention and treatment of ASD after interbody fusion.
METHODS: Thirty-six male and female New Zealand rabbits weighing 2.0-2.5 kg were randomly divided into control group (group A) and experimental groups (groups B, C, and D), with 9 rabbits in each group, of which groups B, C, and D were the 4-, 8-, and 12-week groups, respectively. Autologous iliac bone grafts were used as the bone graft material. In the experimental groups, a SF was performed on the C2-C3 intervertebral space. The C3-4 adjacent segments were examined. In the experimental group, the animals were subjected to gross observation, X-ray examination, hand touch inspection, and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) 4, 8, and 12 weeks after surgery. The micromorphologic changes of the cervical disks in the segments of the control group and experimental groups were observed under light microscopy. Immunohistochemistry and Western blotting were used to detect the expression of TNF-α and IL-1β in the AS tissues after interbody fusion in the control and experimental groups.
RESULTS: The measurement data of the rabbit cervical spine bony structures indicated that the length of the vertebral body and the sagittal diameter of the lower end of the vertebral body decreased gradually from the 2nd-6th cervical vertebrae, and the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The difference in the transverse diameter of the lower end of the vertebral body was not statistically significant (P > 0.05), the change in the oblique diameter of the lower end of the vertebral body fluctuated, and the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The fusion rate of the cervical spine by hand touch inspection was 22.2% (2/9), 55.6% (5/9), and 88.9% (8/9) in groups B, C, and D, respectively. The differences in bone volume-to-total volume (BV/TV) and X-ray scores were statistically significant in groups B, C, and D (P < 0.05). Significant degeneration occurred in groups B, C, and D compared with group A. The expression of TNF-α and IL-1β in the intervertebral disk tissue was significantly higher in groups B, C, and D compared with group A (P < 0.05), and increased with time.
CONCLUSION: In this study, an animal model of ASD after interbody fusion fixation in rabbits was successfully established. Postoperative imaging and hand touch inspection showed a positive correlation between the amount of new intervertebral bone and the degree of fusion with time. The results of immunohistochemistry and Western blot showed that TNF-α and IL-1β were highly expressed in the AS tissues of the experimental group after interbody fusion, and the degree of disk degeneration was positively correlated with the time after interbody fusion.