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Antibiotics May Hurt Discs

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 15:33

Antibiotic drugs may affect intervertebral disc health, according to a report published in the journal Spine.  As part of the study, scientists exposed cultured human annulus cells to four antibiotics commonly given to patients undergoing spinal surgery: cefazolin, gentamycin, cefamandole and vancomycin. After six hours, cells exposed to high concentrations of cefamandole or vancomycin showed decreased metabolism. After 48 hours, viability was lower in cells treated with all four drugs. Cells exposed to cefazolin and cefamandole also exhibited reduced proliferation.

"These findings show that high doses of antibiotics can have direct, deleterious effects on cultured disc cell survival, cell proliferation and metabolic rates," wrote the study's authors. "Studies such as the current investigation . . . show the importance of a greater understanding concerning antibiotic effects on disc cell proliferation and metabolism."

Hoelscher GL, Gruber HE, Coldham G, Grigsby JH, Hanley EN Jr //  Effects of very high antibiotic concentrations on human intervertebral disc cell proliferation, viability, and metabolism in vitro  // Spine 2000;   25 (15):  1871-1877