Cartilage permeability and disc degeneration
Low back pain is the leading cause of disability and is closely linked to disc degeneration. Intradiscal biologic therapy is a promising strategy for managing disc degeneration. However, an unresolved issue is whether a degenerated disc has adequate nutrient supply to support the higher metabolic demands required by these therapies. The overall premise of our project is that low cartilage endplate (CEP) permeability limits disc nutrient supply and cell function, and that we can identify patients with adequate nutrient supply who might benefit from intradiscal therapy through non-invasive assessment of CEP permeability. To do this, we’re combining newly developed MRI techniques with advanced quantitative analysis to assess how CEP permeability relates to the extent of disc degeneration.