Kinetics of charged antibiotic penetration into human intervertebral discs: A numerical study

Qiaoqiao Zhu, Xin Gao, Na Li, Weiyong Gu, Frank Eismont, Mark D. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Little quantitative information exists on the kinetics of charged antibiotic penetration into human intervertebral discs (IVD). This information is crucial for determining the dosage to use, timing of administration, and duration of treatment for infected IVDs. The objective of this study was to quantitatively analyze the transport of various charged antibiotics into human lumbar IVDs. Penetration of charged and uncharged antibiotics into a human lumbar disc was analyzed using a 3D finite element model. The valence (z) of the electrical charge of antibiotics varied from z=+2 (positively charged) to z=−2 (negatively charged). An uncharged antibiotic (z=0) was used as a control. Cases with intravenous (IV) administrations of different charged antibiotics were simulated. Our results showed that the electrical charge had great effects on kinetics of an antibiotic penetration into the IVD; with higher concentrations and uptakes for positively charged antibiotics than those for negatively charged ones. This study provides quantitative information on selecting antibiotics for treating intervertebral disc infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3079-3084
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 6 2016


  • Antibiotic penetration
  • Disc infections
  • Finite element analysis
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Mixture theory
  • Transport phenomena

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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