Mechanical loading, occurring during normal daily life, causes fluid to be expelled from intervertebral discs. Excessive fluid loss during heavy loading might make the disc more vulnerable to damage. In this study, fluid loss was investigated in vitro through monitoring the loss of MRI signal intensity in four bovine coccygeal intervertebral discs, compressed at 2000 N during 1.5 hr. The MRI signals were analyzed with the aid of finite element models to account for the deformation of the tissue. A gradual signal loss over time was found during loading, the most pronounced loss occurring in the central disc region. Initial patterns of signal distribution were quite variable between specimens but repeatable within specimens.

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Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kingma, I., van Dieën, J., Nicolay, K., Maat, J., & Weinans, H. (2000). Monitoring water content in deforming intervertebral disc tissue by finite element analysis of MRI data. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 650–654. doi:AID-MRM21%3E3.0.CO;2-0