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J Neurotrauma. 2000 Apr;17(4):299-319.

Traumatic spinal cord injury produced by controlled contusion in mouse.

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Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, College of Medicine and Public Health, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.


Previous work from this laboratory has described a rat spinal cord injury (SCI) model in which the mid-thoracic spinal cord is subjected to a single rapid and calibrated displacement at the site of a dorsal laminectomy. Injury is initiated at the tip of a vertical shaft driven by an electromagnetic shaker. Transducers arranged in series with the shaft record the patterns of displacement and force during the impact sequence. In the present study, this device and the relevant surgical procedures were adapted to produce a spinal contusion injury model in laboratory mice. The signal generator for the injury device has also been converted to a computer-controlled interface to permit extension of the model to other laboratories. Mice were subjected to SCI across a range of severities by varying the amplitude of displacement and the magnitude of measured preload force on the dural surface. A moderate injury produced by displacement of 0.5 mm over 25 msec resulted in initial paralysis and recovery of locomotion with chronic deficits in hindlimb function. The magnitude of the peak force, impulse, power, and energy generated at impact were correlated with behavioral outcome at 1 day postinjury, while peak displacement and impulse were the best predictors of behavioral outcome at 28 days postinjury. The shape of the force recording proved to be a highly sensitive measure of subtle variations in the spinal compartment that were otherwise difficult to detect in this small species. The results demonstrate that the electromagnetic spinal cord injury device (ESCID) can be used to produce a well-controlled contusion injury in mice. The unique features of controlled displacement and monitoring of the biomechanical parameters at the time of impact provide advantages of this model for reducing outcome variability. Use of this model in mice with naturally occurring and genetically engineered mutations will facilitate understanding of the molecular mechanisms of pathophysiology following traumatic spinal cord injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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