Specimen specific parameter identification of ovine lumbar intervertebral discs: On the influence of fibre-matrix and fibre-fibre shear interactions.

Reutlinger, Christoph; Bürki, Alexander; Brandejsky, Vaclav; Ebert, Lars; Büchler, Philippe (2014). Specimen specific parameter identification of ovine lumbar intervertebral discs: On the influence of fibre-matrix and fibre-fibre shear interactions. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials, 30, pp. 279-289. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2013.11.019

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Numerical models of the intervertebral disc, which address mechanical questions commonly make use of the difference in water content between annulus and nucleus, and thus fluid and solid parts are separated. Despite this simplification, models remain complex due to the anisotropy and nonlinearity of the annulus and regional variations of the collagen fibre density. Additionally, it has been shown that cross-links make a large contribution to the stiffness of the annulus. Because of this complex composite structure, it is difficult to reproduce several sets of experimental data with one single set of material parameters. This study addresses the question to which extent the ultrastructure of the intervertebral disc should be modelled so that its moment-angle behaviour can be adequately described. Therefore, a hyperelastic constitutive law, based on continuum mechanical principles was derived, which does not only consider the anisotropy from the collagen fibres, but also interactions among the fibres and between the fibres and the ground substance. Eight ovine lumbar intervertebral discs were tested on a custom made spinal loading simulator in flexion/extension, lateral bending and axial rotation. Specimen-specific geometrical models were generated using CT images and T2 maps to distinguish between annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus. For the identification of the material parameters the annulus fibrosus was described with two scenarios: with and without fibre-matrix and fibre-fibre interactions. Both scenarios showed a similar behaviour on a load displacement level. Comparing model predictions to the experimental data, the mean RMS of all specimens and all load cases was 0.54±0.15° without the interaction and 0.54±0.19° when the fibre-matrix and fibre-fibre interactions were included. However, due to the increased stiffness when cross-links effects were included, this scenario showed more physiological stress-strain relations in uniaxial and biaxial stress states. Thus, the present study suggests that fibre-matrix and fibre-fibre interactions should be considered in the constitutive law when the model addresses questions concerning the stress field of the annulus fibrosus.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Pavillon 52 > Abt. Magnetresonanz-Spektroskopie und Methodologie, AMSM

UniBE Contributor:

Reutlinger, Christoph, Bürki, Alexander, Brandejsky, Vaclav, Büchler, Philippe


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








Philippe Büchler

Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2014 14:35

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:38

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Annulus fibrosus, Intervertebral disc, Material parameters, Parameter identification





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