The Pathology of Human Spinal Cord Injury: Defining the Problems

Michael D. Norenberg, Jon Smith, Alex Marcillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

429 Scopus citations


This article reviews the pathology of human spinal cord injury (SCI), focusing on potential differences between humans and experimental animals, as well as on aspects that may have mechanistic or therapeutic relevance. Importance is placed on astrocyte and microglial reactions. These cells carry out a myriad of functions and we review the evidence that supports their beneficial or detrimental effects. Likewise, vascular responses and the role of inflammation and demyelination in the mechanism of SCI are reviewed. Lastly, schwannosis is discussed, highlighting its high frequency an potential role when designing therapeutic interventions. We anticipate that a better understanding of the pathological responses in the human will be useful to investigators in their studies on the pathogenesis and therapy of SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-440
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Glial reaction
  • Human and experimental animals
  • Inflammation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Vascular responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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