Extended duration of torsional loading reduced the survival of the NP cells of the intervertebral disc

Chan, Samantha; Walser, Jochen; Ferguson, B.; Gantenbein, Benjamin (May 2014). Extended duration of torsional loading reduced the survival of the NP cells of the intervertebral disc. Global Spine Journal, 4(1_suppl), s-0034-1376629-s-0034-1376629. Thieme 10.1055/s-0034-1376629

Introduction Previous studies on the influence of torsion and combined torsion-compression loading revealed a positive effect on the cell viability when a repetitive short-term torsion was applied at a physiological magnitude to intervertebral disc organ culture.1 However, after an extended period (8 hours) of combined torsion-compression loading, substantial cell death was detected in the nucleus pulposus (NP).2 In this follow-up study, we aimed to investigate the relationship, if any, between the duration of torsion applied to the intervertebral disc (IVD) and the level of NP cell viability.

Materials and Methods Bovine caudal discs were harvested and cultured in a custom-built multiaxis dynamic loading bioreactor.2 Torsion (± 2 degrees) was applied to the samples at a frequency of 0.2 Hz. Torsion was applied for durations of 0, 1, 4, and 8 h/d, repeated over 7 days. After the last day of loading, disc tissue was dissected for analysis of cell viability and gene expression.

Results Disc NP cell viability remained above 85% after torsional loading for 0, 1, or 4 h/d. Viability was statistical significantly reduced to below 70% when torsion was applied for 8 h/d (p = 0.03) (Table 1). The daily duration of torsional loading did not affect the AF cell viability (> 80% for all loading durations). The trend of collagen 2 gene upregulation and matrix metalloproteases 13 downregulation with an increasing duration of torsion was observed in both NP and AF (Fig. 1).Conclusion We have demonstrated that an extended duration of torsion could inhibit the survival of NP cells within the IVD in organ culture.

Acknowledgments Funds from the Orthopedic Department of the Insel University Hospital of Bern and a private donation from Prof. Dr. Paul Heini, Spine Surgeon, Sonnenhof Clinic Bern were received to support this work.

Disclosure of Interest

None declared



1 Chan SC, Ferguson SJ, Wuertz K, Gantenbein-Ritter B. Biological response of the intervertebral disc to repetitive short-term cyclic torsion. Spine 2011;36(24):2021–2030

2 Chan SC, Walser J, Käppeli P, Shamsollahi MJ, Ferguson SJ, Gantenbein-Ritter B. Region specific response of intervertebral disc cells to complex dynamic loading: an organ culture study using a dynamic torsion-compression bioreactor. PLoS ONE 2013;8(8):e72489

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Chan, Samantha (A), Walser, Jochen, Gantenbein, Benjamin


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 620 Engineering






Benjamin Gantenbein

Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2014 11:36

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:34

Publisher DOI:




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