The aim of the study was to determine the effects of immobilization on the gross morphology of rats’ intervertebral disc (IVD) and observe the ameliorating effects of Omega 3 fatty acids and Co-enzyme Q 10 (CoQ10). Forty Sprague Dawley rats weighing 250-300 g were procured from NIH Islamabad. The animals were randomly selected and were divided into four groups of 10 animals in each. Group-A rats served as control group. Each rat of Group B was disc immobilized by using an Illizarov-type apparatus, which was applied for 60 days. Group-C and -D rats after disc immobilization were administrated with Omega 3 fatty acids (260 mg/kg/day) and CoQ10 (150mg/kg/day) through oral gavage respectively. Gross examination of IVD was done using the Thompson grading scale and the disc alterations were scored from grade 1 to 5 in increasing order of IVD alterations.
Gross examination of the sections of IVD’s of the control group showed normal healthy morphology, falling in Thompson grade I degeneration. The frequency of disc alteration was statistically significant in disc-immobilized group B when compared to control group A (p-value=0.000), group C (p-value=0.000) and group D (p value=0.002). Group C in which n-3 fatty acid was given along with disc immobilization, showed significant improvement in disc degenerative changes. On comparison with group B, p-value<0.001 was statistically significant. In experimental Group D, where CoQ10 was given along with disc immobilization, the degenerative changes were significantly reduced as compared to Group B (p = 0.002). In this study, gross morphological changes were induced by immobilization in IVDs of the experimental rats and its reversal by omega 3 and CoQ10 was proven. Co-administration of Omega 3 and CoQ10 significantly minimized degenerative changes in IVDs induced by immobilization.