Acta Vet. Brno 2014, 83: 393-397

Assessment of motor recovery and MRI correlates in a porcine spinal cord injury model

Igor Šulla1, Ladislav Bačiak2, Ivo Juránek3, Tatiana Cicholesová4, Martin Boldižár5, Vladimír Balik6, Nadežda Lukáčová7

1University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Department of Anatomy, Histology and Physiology, Kosice, Slovakia
2Slovak Technical University, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Department of NMR Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry, Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Bratislava, Slovakia
3Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, Bratislava, Slovakia
4University Hospital of L. Pasteur, Department of Physiotherapy, Kosice, Slovakia
5University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Clinic for Horses, Kosice, Slovakia
6University Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery, Olomouc, Czech Republic
7Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of Neurobiology, Kosice, Slovakia

The study concentrated on behavioral and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics in a porcine spinal cord injury model. Six adult minipigs weighing 32–35 kg were narcotized by thiopental, intubated, and placed on a volume-cycled ventilator. Anaesthesia was maintained by 1.5% sevoflurane with oxygen. Following location of the 1st lumbar vertebra animals were fastened in an immobilization frame. The spinal cord, exposed through a laminectomy, was compressed by a 5 mm thick circular rod with a peak force of 0.8 kg at a velocity of 3 cm·s-1. The next day the minipigs were paraplegic but improved rapidly to paraparesis. On the 12th postoperative day they were euthanasied. Neural tissue changes were evaluated by post mortem MRI, which showed damage to the spinal cord white and/or gray matter in the epicentre of compression with longitudinal spreading over one segment cranially and caudally. Statistical analyses performed by Spearman’s rho test revealed positive correlations between damaged areas and the whole area of the spinal cord white/gray matter (P = 0.047; rs = 0.742) and (P = 0.002; rs = 0.943), respectively. The study confirmed the reliability and reproducibility of the utilised model of spinal cord trauma. The structural changes in the epicentre of injury did not impede the rapid but incomplete recovery of motor functions.


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