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Neurosurgery. 1993 Aug;33(2):285-91; discussion 292.

Three-dimensional analysis of the vascular system in the rat spinal cord with scanning electron microscopy of vascular corrosion casts. Part 2: Acute spinal cord injury.

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Canadian Paraplegic Association Spinal Cord Injury Research Laboratory, Toronto Hospital, Ontario, Canada.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the vascular mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of acute spinal cord injury. Vascular corrosion casts of traumatized rat spinal cords at C7-T1 were inspected by scanning electron microscopy. Nineteen rats were subjected to a 51g acute clip compression at C8-T1 and then underwent transcardial perfusion with polyester resin at 15 minutes, 4 hours, or 24 hours after injury. The injured spinal cord appeared almost avascular at the compression site, although the large vessels on the surface of the spinal cord were all intact. The sulcal arteries at the injury site frequently showed constriction, and the impressions of endothelial nuclei were more slender and less distinct in the constricted arterial casts. Extravasation of the injected resin at the injury site was observed most frequently in the 15-minute group. Poorly filled distal branches of the sulcal arteries were seen at the injury site in every group. Indeed, it was concluded that the disruption and occlusion of the sulcal arteries and their branches accounted for a considerable amount of the posttraumatic ischemia of the cord. Occlusion of the sulcal arteries in the anterior median sulcus at the injury site was more frequently observed in the 24-hour group than in earlier groups. This observation suggests that there was a progressive circulatory disturbance of the damaged sulcal arteries at the injury site. The 4- and 24-hour groups showed avascular areas extending longitudinally from the injury site in the posterior columns, probably the result of hemorrhage and venous obstruction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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