Animal Models of Idiopathic Scoliosis



Structural deformity of the spine can present during embryonic development as well as during a range of postnatal growth and maturation in humans. The most common spine disorders observed in human are classified as idiopathic scoliosis (IS), with the majority of these presenting during adolescence. By definition there is a limited understanding of the underlying causes of these idiopathic disorders. Several animal models have been reported to display hallmarks and characteristic traits of IS ranging from pineal gland resection in chicken to surgically induced scoliosis in large animal models to more recent examples of heritable genetic models in mouse and zebrafish. Moreover, recent progress using human genomic studies coupled with genetically tractable models of IS using the mouse and zebrafish has begun to advance a more mechanistic understanding of the genetics and pathogenesis of this condition. In this chapter, we review the range of animal models for IS, highlighting the important findings from each model and addressing caveats for consideration. Studies using relevant animal models have tremendous potential to identify the mechanisms underlying IS and other diseases of the spine and offer an ethical and cost-effective platform for the development of novel therapeutics.



The authors would like to acknowledge Roberto Gonzalez for zebrafish histology and Drs. Michel Bagnat, Christina Gurnett, and Gabriel Haller for critical discussion of this manuscript. This work was supported in part by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R01-AR072009).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsThe University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical SchoolAustinUSA

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