Open Access Animal Models of Spinal Cord Contusion Injuries

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Abstract:

Background and Purpose: Traumatic spinal cord injury causes initial mechanical disruption of tissue, leading to a complex secondary sequence of pathophysiologic changes and neurologic impairment. These sequelae depend on the impact force delivered to the spinal cord at the time of injury. Successful clinical evaluation of the efficacy of any therapeutic regimen depends on the reliability and reproducibility of an experimental animal model. We describe a trauma device and the biomechanical parameters required to induce severe or moderate spinal cord contusion injury in cats and rats.

Methods: Recovery after injury was determined by behavioral, electrophysiologic, and histologic evaluations.

Results: Behavioral and electrophysiologic tests after injury clearly identified the experimental groups. A stable severe paraplegic state (defined as 6 months for cats and 8 weeks for rats), without evidence of behavioral or electrophysiologic recovery, was induced by a 65-Newton (N) load for cats and a 35-N load for rats. Moderate spinal cord contusion injury, from which cats and rats partially recovered after approximately 3 months and 4 weeks, respectively, was induced by a 45- and 25-N load, respectively.

Conclusion: Use of these injury conditions provides reliable animal models for studies designed to evaluate potential therapeutic regimens for spinal cord injury.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, Department of Veteran Affairs, Edward Hines, Jr. Hospital, P.O. Box 20, Hines, IL 60141, Departments of Neurology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 2: Research Service, Department of Veteran Affairs, Edward Hines, Jr. Hospital, Hines, IL 60141 3: Research Service, Department of Veteran Affairs, Edward Hines, Jr. Hospital, Hines, IL 60141, Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 4: Research Service, Department of Veteran Affairs, Edward Hines, Jr. Hospital, Hines, IL 60141, Departments of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 5: Research Service, Department of Veteran Affairs, Edward Hines, Jr. Hospital, Hines, IL 60141, Department of Pathology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois

Publication date: April 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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