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J Comp Neurol. 2006 Feb 1;494(4):578-94.

Comparative analysis of lesion development and intraspinal inflammation in four strains of mice following spinal contusion injury.

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The Spinal Trauma and Repair Laboratories; The Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Susceptibility to neuroinflammatory disease is influenced in part by genetics. Recent data indicate that survival of traumatized neurons is strain dependent and influenced by polygenic loci that control resistance/susceptibility to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of CNS autoimmune disease. Here, we describe patterns of neurodegeneration and intraparenchymal inflammation after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in mice known to exhibit varying degrees of EAE susceptibility [EAE-resistant (r) or EAE-susceptible (s) mice]. Spinal cords from C57BL/6 (EAE-s), C57BL/10 (EAE-r), BALB/c (EAE-r), and B10.PL (EAE-s) mice were prepared for stereological and immunohistochemical analysis at 6 hours or 3, 7, 14, 28, or 42 days following midthoracic (T9) spinal contusion injury. In general, genetic predisposition to EAE predicted the magnitude of intraparenchymal inflammation but not lesion size/length or locomotor recovery. Specifically, microglia/macrophage activation, recruitment of neutrophils and lymphocytes, and de novo synthesis of MHC class II were greatest in C57BL/6 mice and least in BALB/c mice at all times examined. However, lesion volume and axial spread of neurodegeneration were similar in C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice and were significantly greater than in C57BL/10 or B10.PL mice. Strains with marked intraspinal inflammation also developed the most intense lesion fibrosis. Thus, strain-dependent neuroinflammation was observed after SCI, but without a consistent relationship to EAE susceptibility or lesion progression. Only in C57BL/6 mice was the magnitude of intraspinal inflammation predictive of secondary neurodegeneration, functional recovery, or fibrosis.

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