Pineal transplantation after pinealectomy in young chickens has no effect on the development of scoliosis

Keith M. Bagnall, Murray Beuerlein, Paul Johnson, Janet Wilson, V. James Raso, Marc Moreau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design. Three experimental groups and one control group of chickens underwent different surgical procedures to determine the effects of pineal gland transplantation on the development of scoliosis. Objective. To determine whether transplantation of the pineal gland to the body wall musculature maintains serum melatonin levels at normal values and prevents the development of scoliosis. Summary of Background Data. Scoliosis occurs consistently after pinealectomy in young chickens. Many characteristics of this scoliosis are similar to those seen in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It is not clear whether the underlying mechanism is dependent on reduced levels of serum melatonin or some other aspect of the extensive surgery. Methods. Four groups of chickens were selected: normal chickens, pinealectomized chickens, chickens that underwent simple cutting of the pineal stalk, and chickens that underwent transplantation of the pineal gland into the body wall. Development of scoliosis was determined from measurement of the Cobb angle from weekly radiographs. Results. All of the experimental groups showed the same levels of incidence and the same patterns of scoliosis development. Serum melatonin levels were reduced to nearly zero in all the experimental groups for the duration of the experiment. Scoliosis developed in none of the normal chickens. Conclusions. Neither transplantation of the pineal gland into the body wall musculature nor simple cutting of the pineal stalk was able to maintain normal levels of serum melatonin because both procedures reduced levels to nearly zero. The incidence and pattern of scoliosis development in these groups were the same as those for the pinealectomized group. Reduction of serum melatonin levels remains a prerequisite for scoliosis development in young chickens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1027
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Chickens
  • Pinealectomy
  • Scoliosis
  • Transplantation
  • Vertebrae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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