The etiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2002 Jul;31(7):387-95.


The etiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), the most common form of scoliosis, is unclear. Researchers with divergent perspectives have tried to better define this etiology. Genetics, growth hormone secretion, connective tissue structure, muscle structure, vestibular dysfunction, melatonin secretion, and platelet microstructure are major areas of focus. In this article, we review the literature in these areas and present the consensus on proposed hypotheses. Studies that simplify the etiology to a single factor have been inconclusive or unsuccessful. Most likely, the etiology is multifactorial, and reported associations are links in pathogenesis rather than etiologic factors. Research is needed to better define the role of all factors in AIS development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / physiology
  • Body Height
  • Contractile Proteins / physiology
  • Growth Hormone / physiology
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Scoliosis / etiology*
  • Scoliosis / genetics
  • Scoliosis / physiopathology


  • Contractile Proteins
  • Growth Hormone
  • Melatonin