Relative growth of the anulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus in human and kitten fetuses

C. L. Lohse, D. M. Hyde, D. R. Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Growth in volume of the anulus fibrosus (AF) and nucleus pulposus (NP) was quantified using serial histological sections of human and kitten fetuses. Fetal intervertebral discs were studied that had clearly outlined AF and NP. Regression equations were calculated and graphs plotted by microcomputer. An increase in surface areas of these intervertebral structures was also recorded; however, volume was a better indicator of relative growth than was surface area. The AF volume of the fetal human increased more in proportion to the intervertebral disc than it did for the fetal kittens. There was significantly slower growth of the human NP compared to the kitten NP when related to the total intervertebral disc. The analysis for each species was done separately. Comparisons of the growth relationships of humans and kittens for the AF and NP were related to crown-rump length as the independent variable, and were different at the p ≤ 0.01 level of significance. The thoracic intervertebral discs were emphasized due to species-specific differential growth of the AF. The intercapital ligament (IC) was separated from mesenchyme over the dorsal surface of the kitten AF, and this affected the relationships of AF and NP volumes when compared to humans. Use of human histological sections is essential in the study of differential growth of the human vertebral column because fetal kittens have an IC that affects relative growth of both AF and NP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-194
Number of pages4
JournalCells Tissues Organs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Anulus fibrosus
  • Fetus
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Kittens
  • Nucleus pulposus
  • Thorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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