Tissue distribution of antibiotics in the intervertebral disc

Lee H. Riley, Kresimir Banovac, Octavio V. Martinez, Frank J. Eismont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Study Design. This study analyzed the distribution of antibiotics within the intervertebral disc of rabbits. Specimens were tested with specific antibodies against antibiotics using an immunofluorescent technique. Objectives. The results were correlated to provide a rationale for perioperative prophylaxis of infection. Summary of Background Data. Several groups of investigators and the recent data from our laboratory showed quantitative changes in penetration of antibiotics into intervertebral disc. No previous study has assessed antibiotic distribution in anulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus. Methods. Discs were obtained from rabbits after intravenous injection of penicillin or gentamicin. Antibiotics were localized in tissue sections using specific antibodies with a immunofluorescent method. Results. Penicillin (negatively charged) and gentamicin (positively charged) penetrated the neutrally charged anulus fibrosus, but penicillin had less ability than gentamicin to penetrate into the negatively charged nucleus pulposus. Conclusion. Our data suggest that penetration and distribution of antibiotics into avascular intervertebral disc is significantly influenced by the charge of antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2619-2625
Number of pages7
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1994


  • gentamicin
  • intervertebral disc
  • penicillin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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