Understanding the role of the immune system in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Immunometabolic CONnections to Scoliosis (ICONS) study protocol
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INTRODUCTION: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) affects up to 3% of children around the world. There is limited knowledge of AIS aetiopathogenesis, and this evidence is needed to develop new management strategies. Paraspinal muscle in AIS demonstrates evidence of differential fibrosis based on curve sidedness. Fibrosis is the hallmark of macrophage-driven inflammation and tissue remodelling, yet the mechanisms of fibrosis in paraspinal muscle in AIS are poorly understood. OBJECTIVES: The primary objective of this study is to determine the influence of curve sidedness on paraspinal muscle inflammation. Secondary objectives include defining the mechanisms of macrophage homing to muscle, and determining muscle-macrophage crosstalk in muscle fibrosis in AIS. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a cross-sectional study conducted in a tertiary paediatric centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. We will recruit boys and girls, 10-17 years of age, who are having surgery to correct AIS. We will exclude children who have an active infection or are on immunosuppressive therapies within 2 weeks of surgery, smokers and pregnant girls. Paraspinal muscle biopsies will be obtained at the start of surgery. Also, blood and urine samples will be collected from participants, who will fill questionnaires about their lifestyle. Anthropometric measures will also be collected including height, weight, waist and hip circumferences. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has received ethics authorisation by the institutional review board. This work will be published in peer-reviewed journals and will be presented in oral and poster formats at scientific meetings. DISCUSSION: This study will explore the mechanisms of paraspinal muscle inflammation, remodelling and fibrosis in AIS. This will help identify pathways and molecules as potential therapeutic targets to treat and prevent AIS. It may also yield markers that predict scoliosis progression and response to treatment in these children.
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