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Structural and Micro-Anatomical Changes in Vertebrae Associated with Idiopathic-Type Spinal Curvature in the Curveback Guppy Model

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Author: Jin, Ge
Author: Wallis, Rob
Background: The curveback lineage of guppy is characterized by heritable idiopathic-type spinal curvature thatdevelops during growth. Prior work has revealed several important developmental similarities to the human idiopathicscoliosis (IS) syndrome. In this study we investigate structural and histological aspects of the vertebrae that areassociated with spinal curvature in the curveback guppy and test for sexual dimorphism that might explain a femalebias for severe curve magnitudes in the population.Methods: Vertebrae were studied from whole-mount skeletal specimens of curved and non-curved adult males andfemales. A series of ratios were used to characterize structural aspects of each vertebra. A three-way analysis of variancetested for effects of sex, curvature, vertebral position along the spine, and all 2-way interactions (i.e., sex and curvature,sex and vertebra position, and vertebra position and curvature). Histological analyses were used to characterize microarchitecturalchanges in affected vertebrae and the intervertebral region.Results: In curveback, vertebrae that are associated with curvature demonstrate asymmetric shape distortion,migration of the intervertebral ligament, and vertebral thickening on the concave side of curvature. There is sexualdimorphism among curved individuals such that for several vertebrae, females have more slender vertebrae than domales. Also, in the region of the spine where lordosis typically occurs, curved and non-curved females have a reducedwidth at the middle of their vertebrae, relative to males.Conclusions: Based on similarities to human spinal curvatures and to animals with induced curves, the concaveconvexbiases described in the guppy suggest that there is a mechanical component to curve pathogenesis incurveback. Because idiopathic-type curvature in curveback is primarily a sagittal deformity, it is structurally more similarto Scheuermann kyphosis than IS. Anatomical differences between teleosts and humans make direct biomechanicalcomparisons difficult. However, study of basic biological systems involved in idiopathic-type spinal curvature incurveback may provide insight into the relationship between a predisposing aetiology, growth, and biomechanics.Further work is needed to clarify whether observed sex differences in vertebral characteristics are related to the femalebias for severe curves that is observed in the population.
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Gorman et al. Scoliosis 2010, 5:10
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Structural and Micro-Anatomical Changes in Vertebrae Associated with Idiopathic-Type Spinal Curvature in the Curveback Guppy Model
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