Aetiology of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS): investigation of the mechanism of spine deformity development using scoliotic mice model

Summary: The aims of this study are:

  • To investigate the details of mechanism involved in scoliosis initiation and progression
  • To investigate when scoliosis initiated and how deformity progressed in scoliotic mice model using modern micro-CT image technology
  • To investigate which spinal tissue and molecular signalling involved in scoliosis development
  • Ultimately to investigate if drug treatment could rescue or prevent spinal deformity and progression

A better treatment for children with AIS highly requires a better understanding the pathogenesis of the spinal deformity development. Currently there is lack of information on:

- Which spinal structures (muscles, bone, connective tissues, and nerves) are involved in the initial deformity?

- How do spinal tissues and structures remodel during progression of the deformity?

- Why does the deformity develop during the growth spurt and occur mainly in girls?

Answers to these questions would provide clinically important information on the biological and biomechanical mechanisms which drive the initiation and in the progression of the deformity.

It is obviously not possible to answer such questions in patients or normal growing children.  We use scoliotic mice as a model system to investigate the development of the deformity from beginning to the later stage of its progression.   The advantage with animal model is that we can not only understand the patho-morphology of the scoliosis, we also can study the changes at tissue, molecular and gene levels on different spinal elements at different stages of development.

Our ultimate aim is to develop an appropriate animal model which can be use to investigate which drug could prevent scoliosis development and progression

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