Spinal degenerative disk disease (DDD) in female macaque monkeys: Epidemiology and comparison with women

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Spinal degenerative disk disease (DDD) in a radiographic, cross-sectional sample of 192 female macaque monkeys, approximately 5-30 years old, is described. The presence and extent of disk space narrowing (DSN) and anterior osteophytosis were assessed with reference to age, average lifetime body mass, and distribution within the thoracolumbar spine. Age was a strong correlate of disk narrowing and osteophytosis, with early signs appearing at equivalent ages in both species and increasing in prevalence thereafter. Macaques showed a far greater prevalence of DDD, especially in the oldest age group, than has been reported in the human data. Body mass was associated with disk narrowing in the macaque, but not with osteophytosis. The two species differed little in the pattern of distribution of DDD along the spine. Our results suggest that bipedality is not the singular, or even the most important, biomechanical factor in the development of human DDD. Rather, others shared postural regimes, e.g., sitting, may be responsible for the onset and progression of DDD in both species. The macaque model could substantially add to the understanding and, potentially, treatment of this oftentimes debilitating condition. © 2002 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.




Kramer, P. A., Newell-Morris, L. L., & Simkin, P. A. (2002). Spinal degenerative disk disease (DDD) in female macaque monkeys: Epidemiology and comparison with women. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 20(3), 399–408. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0736-0266(01)00122-X

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