Animal models of spine fusion and low back pain

Kornelis A. Poelstra*, Luke Austin, James Zaslavsky, Peter G. Whang, Alpesh A. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review: Animal models will continue to play a pivotal role in the development of new treatment strategies in the battle against debilitating back pain. It is imperative to be up-to-date with current basic science advances that allow surgeons to offer improved care for their patients. Recent findings: Intervertebral disc degeneration is a complex process that we only partially begin to understand and modeling of this progressive disease in vitro, in silico or in vivo has been challenging thus far. Models in specific species are reviewed that allow for the evaluation of surgical solutions for feasibility and efficacy. They span a wide spectrum from elegant genetic modification of the intradiscal milieu to circumferential spinal fusions, with or without osteoinductive agents and hardware. Summary: The implications of this review are to allow for a better understanding of technologies that are becoming available for patient care in the near future and potentially assist now with the selection of the correct animal for the desired project as one of the most important steps toward a successful investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Orthopaedics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Animal model
  • Disc degeneration
  • Gene therapy
  • Low back pain
  • Osteoinduction
  • Spine fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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