Rahwa Berhanu Iman1, Serena Hu2,
1Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States; 2Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; 3NociMed, Redwood City, CA
The intervertebral disc is thought to be a primary source of low back pain, which is difficult to evaluate clinically. To determine whether chemical biomarkers can discriminate painful from non-painful degenerated discs, ex vivo long echo-time 1H (HR-MAS) spectroscopy data were acquired from intervertebral disc tissue and correlated with a clinical assessment of pain. The relative ratios of the lactate/N-acetyl provide a significant discrimination of painful from non-painful degenerated discs. Although there is a clear need for a larger patient cohort study to validate these findings, the lactate/N-acetyl ratio could provide a potential marker for painful disc degeneration.