Anatomical and functional outcomes following a precise, graded, dorsal laceration spinal cord injury in C57BL/6 mice.
ABSTRACT: To study the pathophysiology of spinal cord injury (SCI), we used the LISA-Vibraknife to generate a precise and reproducible dorsal laceration SCI in the mouse. The surgical procedure involved a T9 laminectomy, dural resection, and a spinal cord laceration to a precisely controlled depth. Four dorsal hemisection injuries with lesion depths of 0.5, 0.8, 1.1, and 1.4 mm, as well as normal, sham (laminectomy and dural removal only), and transection controls were examined. Assessments including the Basso Mouse Scale (BMS), footprint analysis, beam walk, toe spread reflex, Hargreaves' test, and transcranial magnetic motor-evoked potential (tcMMEP) analysis were performed to assess motor, sensorimotor, and sensory function. These outcome measures demonstrated significant increases in functional deficits as the depth of the lesion increased, and significant behavioral recovery was observed in the groups over time. Quantitative histological examination showed significant differences between the injury groups and insignificant lesion depth variance within each of the groups. Statistically significant differences were additionally found in the amount of ventral spared tissue at the lesion site between the injury groups. This novel, graded, reproducible laceration SCI model can be used in future studies to look more closely at underlying mechanisms that lead to functional deficits following SCI, as well as to determine the efficacy of therapeutic intervention strategies in the injury and recovery processes following SCI.
Project description:Gene expression analysis of motor cortex after spinal C3 lesion Dorsal column wire knife lesions: Adult female Fischer 344 rats weighing 150-200 gm were used. Animals underwent a laminectomy at spinal level C3. Dorsal funiculus lesions were made in the middle of C3 using a Kopf microwire device (Kopf Instruments, Tujunga, CA). After fixation in a spinal stereotaxic unit, a small dural incision was made. The wire knife was lowered into the spinal cord to a depth of 1.1 mm ventral to the dorsal cord surface and 1.1 mm to the left of the midline. The tip of the wireknife was extruded, forming a 2.25 mm-wide arc that was raised to the dorsal surface of the cord. To ensure complete axotomy of the dorsal funiculus, spinal tissue was compressed against the microwire knife surface using a microaspiration pipette until all visible white matter was transected. Cortical microdissection: The forelimb and hindlimb motor cortex were microdisected from rat cortices: Rostral to Bregma: an area from 2.0 to 4.5 mm mediolateral and from 0 to 2 mm anterior-posterior Caudal to Bregma: an area from 2.0 to 3.5 mediolateral and from 0 to 3 mm caudal to Bregma. Only the inferior half of the cortex containing layer V corticospinal motor neurons was sampled in each region.
Project description:To determine whether the expression levels of circular RNAs were altered and lay a foundation for future work, we used high-throughput microarray analysis to screen circular RNAs expression patterns in the spinal cord of adult rats after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), finally to evaluate the potential rat models as a platform for the development of novel therapeutic targets for spinal cord injury in future clinical studies. Overall six rats at 3 days post-SCI in two groups were used to perform the microarray. Overall design: Six rats were randomly assigned to two groups: rats in the sham control group (n=3) were treated with laminectomy alone without contusion; rats in the SCI group (n=3) were subjected to laminectomy plus contusion. Rats were anesthetized at 3 days post-SCI, and a 1cm long segment of spinal cord, including the injury epicenter, was dissected and collected for the experiment.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) patients develop chronic pain involving poorly understood central and peripheral mechanisms. Because dysregulation of the voltage-gated Kv3.4 channel has been implicated in the hyperexcitable state of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons following direct injury of sensory nerves, we asked whether such a dysregulation also plays a role in SCI. Kv3.4 channels are expressed in DRG neurons, where they help regulate action potential (AP) repolarization in a manner that depends on the modulation of inactivation by protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent phosphorylation of the channel's inactivation domain. Here, we report that, 2 weeks after cervical hemicontusion SCI, injured rats exhibit contralateral hypersensitivity to stimuli accompanied by accentuated repetitive spiking in putative DRG nociceptors. Also in these neurons at 1 week after laminectomy and SCI, Kv3.4 channel inactivation is impaired compared with naive nonsurgical controls. At 2-6 weeks after laminectomy, however, Kv3.4 channel inactivation returns to naive levels. Conversely, Kv3.4 currents at 2-6 weeks post-SCI are downregulated and remain slow-inactivating. Immunohistochemistry indicated that downregulation mainly resulted from decreased surface expression of the Kv3.4 channel, as whole-DRG-protein and single-cell mRNA transcript levels did not change. Furthermore, consistent with Kv3.4 channel dysregulation, PKC activation failed to shorten the AP duration of small-diameter DRG neurons. Finally, re-expressing synthetic Kv3.4 currents under dynamic clamp conditions dampened repetitive spiking in the neurons from SCI rats. These results suggest a novel peripheral mechanism of post-SCI pain sensitization implicating Kv3.4 channel dysregulation and potential Kv3.4-based therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Objective:To investigate the effects of ketogenic metabolism on macrophage polarization, inflammation inhibition, and function recovery after acute spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats. Methods:Sixty-four adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly and equally divided into sham, standard diet (SD), ketone diet (KD), and 1, 3-butanediol (BD) groups. All animals underwent C5 unilateral laminectomy, whereas the SD, KD, and BD groups underwent C5 spinal cord hemi-contusion. The impact rod with a diameter of 1.5 mm was aligned 22.5° to the left and 1.4 mm to the midline, and then triggered to deliver a set displacement of 1.5 mm at a speed of 100 mm/s. The gene expression of inflammatory factors as well as the protein expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase, arginase-1, and inflammatory factors were measured at 1 week post-injury. Serum ketone and behavior were evaluated every second week for 12 weeks. Then, histological analyses of the gray and white matter at the epicenter were conducted at 12 weeks post-injury. Results:The serum ketone levels of the KD and BD groups were significantly increased when compared with the SD group. The gene and protein expression of TNF-? and IL-1? tended to increase after the SCI, but were inhibited in the KD and BD groups. The protein expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase, marker of M1 macrophage, was inhibited in the KD and BD groups; on the other hand, the expression of arginase-1, marker of M2 macrophage, was boosted in the KD and BD groups. The usage of the ipsilateral forelimb was higher in the KD group than in the SD group. The hemi-contusive injury resulted in an obvious ipsilateral lesion area at the epicenter, and there was no significant difference between groups regarding the lesion size. However, the spared gray matter area was significantly greater in the KD group than in the SD and BD groups. Conclusion:The present study suggests that ketogenic metabolism promotes macrophage polarization to M2, inhibits an inflammatory response, and alleviates the loss of gray matter after SCI. A higher ketone level, such as that induced by the ketogenic diet, seems to benefit function recovery after SCI.
Project description:Traumatic spinal cord injury causes an inflammatory reaction involving blood-derived macrophages and central nervous system (CNS)-resident microglia. Intra-vital two-photon microscopy enables the study of macrophages and microglia in the spinal cord lesion in the living animal. This can be performed in adult animals with a traumatic injury to the dorsal column. Here, we describe methods for distinguishing macrophages from microglia in the CNS using an irradiation bone marrow chimera to obtain animals in which only macrophages or microglia are labeled with a genetically encoded green fluorescent protein. We also describe a injury model that crushes the dorsal column of the spinal cord, thereby producing a simple, easily accessible, rectangular lesion that is easily visualized in an animal through a laminectomy. Furthermore, we will outline procedures to sequentially image the animals at the anatomical site of injury for the study of cellular interactions during the first few days to weeks after injury.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating disease, which leads to paralysis and is associated to substantially high costs for the individual and society. At present, no effective therapies are available. Here, the use of mechanically-activated lipoaspirate adipose tissue (MALS) in a murine experimental model of SCI is presented. Our results show that, following acute intraspinal MALS transplantation, there is an engraftment at injury site with the acute powerful inhibition of the posttraumatic inflammatory response, followed by a significant progressive improvement in recovery of function. This is accompanied by spinal cord tissue preservation at the lesion site with the promotion of endogenous neurogenesis as indicated by the significant increase of Nestin-positive cells in perilesional areas. Cells originated from MALS infiltrate profoundly the recipient cord, while the extra-dural fat transplant is gradually impoverished in stromal cells. Altogether, these novel results suggest the potential of MALS application in the promotion of recovery in SCI.
Project description:Nogo receptor 1 (NgR1) is a high-affinity receptor of myelin-associated inhibitors (MAIs), and suppresses neurogenesis. Lentiviral vector are commonly used to alter the expression of targeted genes. However, little is known about the potential function of lentiviral vector harboring NgR1 shRNA (LV-NgR1 shRNA) on neurogenesis in spinal cord injury (SCI). In this study, the rats were randomly divided into three groups: including the LN (LV-NgR1 shRNA injection), LC (LV-control shRNA injection) and Sham (laminectomy only). Eight weeks post-injection of LV, spinal cords were examined by histology for changes in cavity size and by immunohistochemistry for changes in expression of NgR1, cell apoptosis, astrocytes, neurons and myelination. Motor function was assessed using the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor scale. Animals that received LV-NgR1 shRNA remarkably improved the motor function. These animals also showed an increase in levels of nerve fibers, synapses and myelination, a decrease in levels of lesion cavity and cell apoptosis at 8 weeks post-treatment. These findings give evidence that NgR1 may be a promising target for SCI treatment.
Project description:Following spinal cord injury (SCI), individuals lose normal sensation and often develop debilitating neuropathic pain. Basic research has helped to elucidate many of the underlying mechanisms, but unanswered questions remain concerning how sensation changes after SCI and potential negative consequences of regenerative therapies. Mouse models provide an opportunity to explore these questions using genetic markers and manipulations. However, despite the increasing use of mice in pain and sensory research, the responses to sensory stimuli after SCI are poorly characterized in this species. This study evaluated behavioral responses to mechanical and nociceptive stimuli applied to the hindlimbs and the dorsal trunk in C57BL/6 mice after mid-thoracic SCI. Adult mice were subjected to laminectomy, contusion injuries of different severities, or complete transections to test the hypothesis that the patterns of sensory pathology depend on the extent of tissue damage at the injury site. In the hind paws, hyper-responsiveness to a heat stimulus developed independent of injury severity, while mechanical sensitivity decreased, except after the most severe contusion injuries sparing less than 2% of the white matter at the injury site, when enhanced sensitivity was observed. On the trunk, mechanical and pin prick testing revealed diminished sensitivity at and below the injury level, while responses above the level of the injury were unchanged. The contrast in injury severity threshold for thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity in the hind paws suggests that these responses have different underlying mechanisms. These results establish essential baseline information for murine studies of pain and changes in sensation after SCI.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating clinical condition resulting in significant disabilities for affected individuals. Apart from local injury within the spinal cord, SCI patients develop a myriad of complications characterized by multi-organ dysfunction. Some of the dysfunctions are directly related to the disrupted integrity of sensory afferents from DRGs, which signal to both the spinal cord and peripheral organs. Some classes of DRG neurons undergo axonal sprouting both peripherally and centrally after spinal cord injury. Such physiological and anatomical re-organization of afferent axons after SCI contributes to both adaptive and maladaptive plasticity, which may be modulated by activity/exercise. In this study, we collected comprehensive gene expression data in whole dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) throughout the levels below the injury comparing the effects of SCI with and without activity/exercise. Overall design: Rats were subjected to a single level laminectomy at T2 vertebrae before receiving a complete transection injury or moderately-severe contusion injury (25 g-cm SCI) at the T2 spinal cord level using the NYU Impactor (W.Young, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ). After four days of recovery, all animals were housed two per cage in tiny cage (7.5” x 8.5” x 8”) as opposed to standard cage (22” x 12.5” x 8”) to restrict their motion for the duration of the study. The subjects were then randomized in to one of four groups: 1) Contusion SCI + swimming (SWIM), 2) Contusion SCI + shallow water walking (SWW), 3) Contusion SCI, un-exercised, 4) Complete Transection, un-exercised and 5) un-injured and un-exercised control group. Swimming and shallow water walking as exercise intervention, began 2.5 weeks post injury in T2 contused group and was conducted 5 days a week for 10 weeks. Animals were sacrificed at 13.5 weeks post-injury for contusion SCI+Exercise, at 11.5 weeks post-injury for contusion SCI alone, and 8.5 weeks post-injury for transection SCI. DRGs from T11-L4 levels were retrieved from both sides of the spinal column of each animal and total RNA was extracted for Illumina NextSeq RNA sequencing.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Nerve transfer has been developed to restore partial function after serious nerve injuries, for example, restoring bladder control after spinal cord injury (SCI). Our aim here was to establish a preclinical proof-of-concept model using nerve transfer for restoring anorectal function after SCI. SETTING:We used laminectomy to model SCI, and bilateral spinal ventral and dorsal nerve root anastomosis to re-establish connectivity to the anorectal musculature. METHODS:Multidisciplinary methods were used to assess the anatomical and functional integrity of the alternative spinal-to-anorectal nerve circuit. Adult rats were used to establish the model. Bilateral anterior and posterior L5 nerve roots were surgically matched with anterior and posterior of S1 nerve roots by microscopic anastomosis to establish an artificial rectal reflex arc with complete sensory and motor pathways. Twelve weeks later, we used retrograde nerve tracing and neurohistomorphological analysis to assess anatomical integrity of the new artificial rectal reflex arc. Anorectal manometry was used to assess the function of the new nerve circuit. RESULTS:Retrograde tracing with recombinant attenuated pseudo rabies virus indicated that the new neural pathway was successfully established to the anorectal musculature after experimental SCI. Toluidine blue-stained sections of the anastomosis site revealed normal-appearing nerve fiber morphology and regeneration, and transmission electron microscopy revealed myelinated axons. Anorectal manometry revealed significant anorectal functional recovery. CONCLUSION:These results suggest that our model is a feasible first step in developing an alternative reflex pathway after laminectomy at L4 to S2 and shows promise for effective restoration of anorectal function.