Developmental features of thoracic intervertebral discs and their association in the adult with other vertebral structures were investigated in four species. The human anulus fibrosus, nucleus pulposus, and intra-articular ligaments were compared to those of the fetal rhesus monkey, mouse, and kitten. Photomicrographs of transverse sections of intervertebral discs document the presence of intra-articular ligaments in fetuses of these four species. Both transverse and sagittal sections of kittens were used to identify the intercapital ligament as it differentiated from the dorsal part of the intra-articular ligament. Relatively frequent dorsal herniation of the thoracic nucleus pulposus in humans may be due to the vestigial nature of the human intra-articular ligament. Quadrupeds have well-developed intra-articular ligaments, which explains anatomically the paucity of dorsal protrusions of the nucleus pulposus into the vertebral canal in the thoracic region of the cat and mouse when compared to the human. The intra-articular ligament was closely associated with the developing prenatal mammalian intervertebral disc in the four species studied, and this relationship and its surgical importance are described.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - 1985|
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