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J Synchrotron Radiat. 2017 Nov 1;24(Pt 6):1218-1225. doi: 10.1107/S1600577517011201. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

The 3D characteristics of post-traumatic syringomyelia in a rat model: a propagation-based synchrotron radiation microtomography study.

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School of Information Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha 410008, People's Republic of China.
Department of Spine Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, People's Republic of China.
Center for Drug Delivery System, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, People's Republic of China.
Key Laboratory of Organ Injury, Aging and Regenerative Medicine of Hunan Province, Changsha 410008, People's Republic of China.


Many published literature sources have described the histopathological characteristics of post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS). However, three-dimensional (3D) visualization studies of PTS have been limited due to the lack of reliable 3D imaging techniques. In this study, the imaging efficiency of propagation-based synchrotron radiation microtomography (PB-SRµCT) was determined to detect the 3D morphology of the cavity and surrounding microvasculature network in a rat model of PTS. The rat model of PTS was established using the infinite horizon impactor to produce spinal cord injury (SCI), followed by a subarachnoid injection of kaolin to produce arachnoiditis. PB-SRµCT imaging and histological examination, as well as fluorescence staining, were conducted on the animals at the tenth week after SCI. The 3D morphology of the cystic cavity was vividly visualized using PB-SRµCT imaging. The quantitative parameters analyzed by PB-SRµCT, including the lesion and spared spinal cord tissue area, the minimum and maximum diameters in the cystic cavity, and cavity volume, were largely consistent with the results of the histological assessment. Moreover, the 3D morphology of the cavity and surrounding angioarchitecture could be simultaneously detected on the PB-SRµCT images. This study demonstrated that high-resolution PB-SRµCT could be used for the 3D visualization of trauma-induced spinal cord cavities and provides valuable quantitative data for cavity characterization. PB-SRµCT could be used as a reliable imaging technique and offers a novel platform for tracking cavity formation and morphological changes in an experimental animal model of PTS.


phase-contrast tomography; post-traumatic syringomyelia; propagation-based synchrotron radiation microtomography; spinal cord injury; three-dimensional

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