Vertebral endplate ossification centers are delayed on the concave side in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Although the trigger for initiation of spinal curvature in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis remains unclear, there is increasing recognition of features that contribute to progression of the curvature in the growing spine.  In a study published in The Bone & Joint Journal, researchers describe their finding of asymmetrical growth centers in scoliotic vertebrae, with delayed appearance of the epiphyseal ring ossification center on the concave side of apical and peri-apical vertebrae, but no difference in the rate of appearance of the ossification centers in the end vertebrae.  They noted these findings by analysis of computed tomography scans in both structural and non-structural curves, and explained their results by noting the asymmetrical loading force on the vertebral body in the presence of deformity.  Because the epiphyseal ring ossification center, also known as the ring apophysis, contributes to the formation of the vertebral endplate, the researchers concluded that this asymmetrical growth plays a role in the progression of scoliosis.  The article is titled, “Asymmetrical ossification in the epiphyseal ring of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.”