Anulus fibrosus disci intervertebralis

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Anulus fibrosus disci intervertebralis
Cervical vertebra english.png
Cervical vertebra with intervertebral disc. (Disc annulus labeled at bottom right, and is visible at center in blue.)
Disc Herniation.JPG
Stages of Spinal Disc Herniation
Latin Anulus fibrosus disci intervertebralis
Gray's p.289

Each intervertebral fibrocartilage is composed, at its circumference, of laminae of fibrous tissue and fibrocartilage, forming the anulus fibrosus disci intervertebralis.[1][2] The lamellae are stiff and sustain compressive loads. The stiffness of the anulus fibrosus works in concert with the gel-like nucleus pulposus to equalise pressure across the disc. This prevents development of stress concentrations which could cause damage to the underlying vertebrae or vertebral endplates.


The anulus fibrosus consists of both type I and type II collagen - type I is concentrated towards the edge of the anulus fibrosus and type II is more concentrated in the middle of the disc. The outer type I collagen at the edge provides greater strength.

Spelling notes[edit]

Correct spelling[edit]

The current official Latin anatomic nomenclature Terminologia Anatomica of 1998 (the successor of Nomina Anatomica) writes anulus with one n as in anulus fibrosus disci intervertebralis.[1] The first edition of 1895, the Basle Nomina Anatomica wrote annulus fibrosus [3] with two n's instead. This orthographic mistake was however corrected in the subsequent edition, authorized in 1935 in Jena, the Jena Nomina Anatomica.[4][5] The edition of the Jena Nomina Anatomica clearly etymologically states that anulus is actually derived from Classical Latin, anus, in the sense of ring,[5] hence the single and not the double n. This position is corroborated by dictionaries of Classical Latin as they prefer the spelling anulus [6] or even disaprove of writing annulus (with two n's).[7] Subsequent editions from Nomina Anatomica from 1956,[8] 1961[8] and 1966[9] retained the correct spelling anulus fibrosus (with one n).

Incorrect revision[edit]

The so-called fourth edition [10] from 1977 reverted the spelling back to annulus fibrosus (with two n's), with anulus fibrosus (with one n) as alternative spelling. The introduction of this edition[10] specifically mentioned:

Pedantic insistence on anulus for annulus (despite the familiar annular and annulaire)......are a few examples of misplaced scholastic zeal.
The more the Latin term can be made to resemble its vernacular equivalent, the easier it is to guess the significance of the Latin term.

Reinstating the correct spelling[edit]

After the fifth edition[11] from 1983, that persisted on the use of annulus fibrosus as preferred spelling besides anulus fibrosus as alternative spelling, the sixth edition[12] of the Nomina Anatomica reinstated the correct spelling anulus fibrosus, that persists in the current Terminologia Anatomica in both the lists of Latin as well as 'English' anatomic names.[1]

"Fibrosus" has no correct alternative spelling; "fibrosis" has a different meaning and is incorrect in this context.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) (1998). Terminologia Anatomica. Stuttgart: Thieme
  2. ^ Anderson, D.M. (2000). Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary (29th edition). Philadelphia/London/Toronto/Montreal/Sydney/Tokyo: W.B. Saunders Company.
  3. ^ His, W. (1895). Die anatomische Nomenclatur. Nomina Anatomica. Der von der Anatomischen Gesellschaft auf ihrer IX. Versammlung in Basel angenommenen Namen. Leipzig: Verlag Veit & Comp.
  4. ^ Kopsch, F. (1941). Die Nomina anatomica des Jahres 1895 (B.N.A.) nach der Buchstabenreihe geordnet und gegenübergestellt den Nomina anatomica des Jahres 1935 (I.N.A.) (3. Auflage). Leipzig: Georg Thieme Verlag.
  5. ^ a b Stieve, H. (1949). Nomina Anatomica. Zusammengestellt von der im Jahre 1923 gewählten Nomenklatur-Kommission, unter Berücksichtigung der Vorschläge der Mitglieder der Anatomischen Gesellschaft, der Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, sowie der American Association of Anatomists, überprüft und durch Beschluß der Anatomischen Gesellschaft auf der Tagung in Jena 1935 endgúltig angenommen. (4th edition). Jena: Verlag Gustav Fischer.
  6. ^ Wageningen, J. van & Muller, F. (1921). Latijnsch woordenboek. (3de druk). Groningen/Den Haag: J.B. Wolters’ Uitgevers-Maatschappij
  7. ^ Lewis, C.T. & Short, C. (1879). A Latin dictionary founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  8. ^ a b Donáth, T. & Crawford, G.C.N. (1969). Anatomical dictionary with nomenclature and explanatory notes. Oxford/London/Edinburgh/New York/Toronto/Syney/Paris/Braunschweig: Pergamon Press.
  9. ^ International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1966). Nomina Anatomica. Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica Foundation.
  10. ^ a b International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1977). Nomina Anatomica, together with Nomina Histologica and Nomina Embryologica. Amsterdam-Oxford: Excerpta Medica.
  11. ^ International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1983). Nomina Anatomica, together with Nomina Histologica and Nomina Embryologica. Baltimore/London: Williams & Wilkins
  12. ^ International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1989). Nomina Anatomica, together with Nomina Histologica and Nomina Embryologica. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  13. ^ Fardon DF (2001). "Nomenclature and classification of lumbar disc pathology". Spine 26 (5): 461–2. doi:10.1097/00007632-200103010-00007. PMID 11242371. 

This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

External links[edit]