Photochemically induced cystic lesion in the rat spinal cord. I. Behavioral and morphological analysis

Tracy Cameron, Ricardo Prado, Brant D. Watson, Mayra Gonzalez-Carvajal, Vicky R. Holets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The present study describes the production of a spinal cord lesion which is initiated by vascular occlusion resulting from the interaction between the photosensitizing dye erythrosin B and an argon laser beam. The lesion has characteristics similar to those of the central cavity thought to lead to the production of post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS) in humans. The present study examines the behavioral and morphological characteristics of this injury over a 28-day period. Histological analysis revealed a cavity extending from the dorsal horns to lamina VIII, with some lateral and ventral pathways being spared. The cavity volume reached a maximum 7 days after lesion induction. Behavioral changes were assessed using six different tests of motor and reflex function (motor function, climbing, waterbath, inclined plane, withdrawal to pain, and withdrawal to extension). Lesioned animals exhibited flaccid paralysis for 3-5 days, which resolved afterward. The photochemically induced cavity should provide a reproducible model for examining the effects of cystic spinal cord injury on locomotor and reflex function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-223
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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