alexa Functional anatomy of the deer spine: an appropriate biomechanical model for the human spine?


Journal of Spine

Author(s): Kumar N, Kukreti S, Ishaque M, Sengupta DK, Mulholland RC

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Abstract The object of this study was to create a database for the biomechanical and certain functional anatomical parameters of the deer spine, for comparison with the human spine. This was done with a view toward using the deer spine as an alternative model for various biomechanical experiments, as it is difficult to procure nonembalmed, fresh human spine specimens. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and its human variant, Creutzfeld Jakob disease (CJD), prevent us from using bovine and sheep spine. There is a risk of transmission of disease through direct inoculation to the researcher working with infected bovine or sheep spine, and a theoretical possibility of transmission through the food chain if proper precautions for specimen disposal are not taken. We chose deer spine as an alternative for testing nonembalmed fresh human spine because, to date, there have been no reported cases of deer being carriers of prion diseases. Fifteen deer spine specimens were sectioned appropriately to obtain six functional spinal units for each level in the thoracic and lumbar spine. Each unit was tested in a Dartec materials testing machine (Dartec Ltd., Stourbridge, UK) under pure moments in three main anatomical planes. The range of motion (ROM), neutral zone (NZ), and stiffness parameters of the functional unit were determined in flexion-extension, right/left lateral bending, and axial rotation. The data obtained were compared with the corresponding human spine data in the literature. Deer spine specimens were also studied for bone mineral density (BMD) using a DEXA scan. The results revealed the overall ROM was greater for deer spine compared to the human spine in the upper thoracic region, but less compared to human spine in the lower lumbar spine region. The only comparable region for ROM was in the lower thoracic/upper lumbar region. The stiffness coefficients were also comparable in this region. The BMD was also comparable in the two species. We conclude that the lower thoracic/upper lumbar region in the deer spine can be used as a model for some human biomechanical experiments because of its biomechanical and material similarities to the human spine of the corresponding region. Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in Anat Rec and referenced in Journal of Spine

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