Repair and recovery following spinal cord injury in a neonatal marsupial (Monodelphis domestica)
Saunders, NR and Deal, A and Knott, GW and Varga, ZM and Nicholls, JG, Repair and recovery following spinal cord injury in a neonatal marsupial (Monodelphis domestica), Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 22, (8) pp. 518-526. ISSN 0305-1870 (1995) [Refereed Article]
1. Repair and recovery following spinal cord injury (complete spinal cord crush) has been studied in vitro in neonatal opossum (Monodelphis domestica), fetal rat and in vivo in neonatal opossum. 2. Crush injury of the cultured spinal cord of isolated entire central nervous system (CNS) of neonatal opossum (P4-10) or fetal rats (E15-E16) was followed by profuse growth of fibres and recovery of conduction of impulses through the crush. Previous studies of injured immature mammalian spinal cord have described fibre growth occurring only around the lesion, unless implanted with fetal CNS. 3. The period during which successful growth occurred in response to a crush is developmentally regulated. No such growth was obtained after P12 in spinal cords crushed in vitro at the level of C7-8. 4. In vivo, in the neonatal (P4-8) marsupial opossum, growth of fibres through, and restoration of, impulse conduction across the crush was apparent 1-2 weeks after injury. With longer periods of time after crushing a considerable degree of normal locomotor function developed. 5. By the time the operated animals reached adulthood, the morphological structure of the spinal cord, both in the region of the crush and on either side of the site of the lesion, appeared grossly normal. 6. The results are discussed in relation to the eventual longterm possibility of devising effective treatments for patients with spinal cord injuries.