Mammalian spinal biomechanics. I. Static and dynamic mechanical properties of intact intervertebral joints

J.M. Gál

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    Four-point bending was used to apply pure extension and flexion moments to the ligamentous lumbosacral spine and pelvic girdle of monkey (Macaca fascicularis), rabbit (domestic and wild, Oryctolagus cuniculus), badger (Meles meles), wallaby (Wallabia rufogrisea frutica), sheep (Ovis aries), seal (Phoca vitulina) and tiger (Panthera tigris). The absolute ranges of angular change in lumbar-lumbar joints (from X-radiographs) were considerable and similar in monkey and wallaby (greater in flexion) and in rabbit and badger (symmetrical in extension and flexion). Mass-specific bending comparisons showed that monkey and seal joints were the most and least resistant, respectively, to these moments. The patterns of mobility showed no clear scaling effects. Subsequently, additional ligamentous joint complexes (three vertebrae and two intervertebral discs) of monkey, wallaby, tiger, jaguar (Panthera onca) and seal (Halichoerus grypus) were subjected to cyclic extension and flexion moments. Changes in intervertebral angle (y, from X-radiographs) were modelled as functions of applied specific bending moments (x):y=A(1-e-Bx). A and B values represented bending capacities and joint compliances respectively. Homologous monkey and wallaby joints had considerable flexion capacities, with low compliances. Homologous jaguar and tiger joints had limited flexion capacities, but greater compliances. The data suggest that flexion resistance may be controlled by different mechanisms in different species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)247-280
    Number of pages34
    JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993


    • animal
    • article
    • biological model
    • biomechanics
    • joint
    • joint characteristics and functions
    • mammal
    • physiology
    • spine
    • statistical analysis


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