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Exp Neurol. 2001 Apr;168(2):273-82.

Temporal-spatial pattern of acute neuronal and glial loss after spinal cord contusion.

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Department of Cell Biology, Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, 3970 Reservoir Road, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


The secondary loss of neurons and glia over the first 24 h after spinal cord injury (SCI) contributes to the permanent functional deficits that are the unfortunate consequence of SCI. The progression of this acute secondary cell death in specific neuronal and glial populations has not previously been investigated in a quantitative manner. We used a well-characterized model of SCI to analyze the loss of ventral motoneurons (VMN) and ventral funicular astrocytes and oligodendrocytes at 15 min and 4, 8, and 24 h after an incomplete midthoracic contusion injury in the rat. We found that both the length of lesion and the length of spinal cord devoid of VMN increased in a time-dependent manner. The extent of VMN loss at specified distances rostral and caudal to the injury epicenter progressed symmetrically with time. Neuronal loss was accompanied by a loss of glial cells in ventral white matter that was significant at the epicenter by 4 h after injury. Oligodendrocyte loss followed the same temporal pattern as that of VMN while astrocyte loss was delayed. This information on the temporal-spatial pattern of cell loss can be used to investigate mechanisms involved in secondary injury of neurons and glia after SCI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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