Neurological and morphological outcome was evaluated in a rat model of graded spinal cord infarction initiated by a photochemical reaction. In this model, light-dye interactions induce primary microvascular stasis, resulting in consistent patterns of tissue necrosis. Four groups of rats underwent photoinduction times ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Neurological and electrophysiological functions were assessed starting 1 week after irradiation and continuing for 8 weeks. A functional neurological score was obtained by combining results from sensory and motor tasks, and electrophysiological function was evaluated from the somatosensory evoked potential recordings. In rats irradiated for short periods (30 seconds and 1 minute) mild behavioral deficits were documented. In contrast, electrical conduction was suppressed acutely in both groups; this recovered by 8 weeks to baseline or near baseline in the 30-second group but not in the 1-minute group. In rats irradiated for longer periods (5 and 10 minutes), severe behavioral and conduction abnormalities were detected at both the subacute and chronic testing periods. Although no significant difference in behavior was documented between the 5- and 10-minute groups acutely, the rats with 5-minute photoinduction time demonstrated a significant improvement in behavior over time whereas the group with 10-minute photoinduction time showed no improvement. A severe conduction block was present in both animals groups during the course of the study. Histopathological examination combined with morphometric measurements of the lesion area in cross section revealed four different degrees of spinal cord necrosis which correlated significantly with photoinduction times and neurological scores at 8 weeks. Reproducible degrees of ischemic damage to spinal cord parenchyma following primary microvascular occlusion result in a predictable sequence of behavioral and functional abnormalities, which in some cases recover with time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology