Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Poillot P.;O'Donnell J.;O'Connor D.;Ul Haq E.;Silien C.;Tofail S.;Huyghe J.
Journal of biomechanics
Piezoelectricity in the Intervertebral disc
Optional Fields
Annulus Fibrosus Collagen Intervertebral disc Mechanotransduction Piezoelectricity
2020 Lower back pain is a major global health challenge that can often be caused by degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc (IVD). While IVD biomechanics are a key factor in the degenerative cycle, many mechanotransduction pathways remain unknown, in particular the electro-mechanical coupling in the loaded tissue. However, despite evidence for a role in the mechanically-induced remodelling of similar tissue, piezoelectricity has been overlooked in the IVD. In this study, we investigate the piezoelectric properties of the Annulus Fibrosus (AF) and the Nucleus Pulposus (NP) by measuring the direct piezoelectric effect of mechanically-induced electrical potential change. To verify these findings, we conducted Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM) to measure the inverse effect of electrically-induced deformation. We demonstrate that, for the first time, piezoelectricity is generated throughout the IVD. Piezoelectric effects were greater in the AF than the NP, owing to the organised collagen networks present. However, the piezoresponse found in the NP indicates piezoelectric properties of non-collagenous proteins that have not yet been studied. The voltage generated by longitudinal piezoelectricity in-vivo has been calculated to be ~1 nV locally, indicating that piezoelectric effects may directly affect cell alignment in the AF and may work in conjunction with streaming potentials throughout the IVD. In summary, we have highlighted an intricate electro-mechanical coupling that appears to have distinct physiological roles in the AF and NP. Further study is required to elucidate the cell response and determine the potential role of piezoelectric effects in regeneration and preventative measures from degeneration.
Grant Details