Examination of degenerational and regenerational characteristics in lumbar discs and check of the relationship with occupational lumbar load

Project No. FF-FB 0082


completed 08/2006


Association with the German EPILIFT study. Examination of histological parameters in patients with disc prolaps of the lumbar spine. Check of the relationship between type and extent of histological degenerational and regenerational characteristics and occupational lumbar load.


Recruitment of 100 study participants according to the EPILIFT study protocol. Histological examination of the lumbar discs probes. Conduction of a standardized interview concerning occupational work load. Development of analytical models for the interview.


Lumbar disc material of 109 patients of the "Deutsche Wirbelsäulenstudie" (German disc study) was collected during lumbar disc or fusion surgery. Patients were operated due to clinical relevant disc prolapse or spinal stenosis. Lifetime occupational load was assessed by a structured interview with about 500 questions per patient. Correlation studies between both item groups were carried out using SPSS statistical software package.

Key results were the nearly significant correlation of "load and carry forces" with chondrocyte clusters (p=0.053) and a comparable situation for "total body vibration" and chondrocyte clusters. The degree of degeneration and scar formation did not show any relationship to the life time occupational load. Living conditions like smoking or obesity were also not correlated with regenerative or degenerative histological patterns. Half of the disc specimen revealed scar formation with fibrocyte mediated tissue as a sign of relevant endplate destruction. Chondrocyte clusters were seen in most of the specimen but only in few visual fields per probe.

Last Update:



Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • BG-Kliniken Halle

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

mechanical hazards


Berufskrankheit, Physische Beanspruchung/Belastung

Description, key words:

lumbar disc, Deutsche Wirbelsäulenstudie EPILIFT (DWS)