Optical spectroscopic methods for diagnostics of intervertebral disc degeneration

  • J.V. Vaitkus
  • D. Varanius
  • I. Čiplys
  • V. Gėgžna
  • G. Terbetas
  • J. Ušinskienė
  • A. Vaitkuvienė
Keywords: optical biopsy, tissue fluorescence, Raman spectroscopy, FT-IR absorption, biomedical diagnostics


The level of degeneration (LOD) in the human intervertebral disc (IVD) could determine the choice of patient treatment strategy, thus there is a need for methods applicable at a point of care that enable quick medical decisions. In this paper, infrared light absorption, FT-Raman scattering and fluorescence spectroscopy were used to analyse the same specimens from different groups of IVD samples. Samples from the lumbar part of spine of 37 patients (mean age 48.2 years old) were included in the study. The gender distribution was 27 women and 10 men. The distribution by LOD in the Pfirrmann scale was as follows: grade 3 (40.5%), grade 4 (48.6%) and grade 5 (10.8%) were evaluated in our samples. Spectroscopic signals were measured and analysed. Features such as medical condition (LOD), patient’s age and gender were taken into account. All three methods of spectroscopy revealed age-dependent spectroscopic features related to LOD. For the first time a promissing possibility was found to recognize the LOD by fluorescence spectra in human IVD material taking gender and age into account. The findings create a background for the design of equipment and the design of experiment of more advanced clinical trials. FT-IR absorption and FT-Raman scattering spectra demonstrated the age dependences of a few components. The Raman peak at 2707 cm–1 seems promising for recognition of lumbar IVD LOD, but a higher number of specimens is necessary.
Interdisciplinary Physics