06-22-2002, 11:17 AM
• Hase T, Kawaguchi S, Hayashi H, Nishio T, Mizoguchi A and Nakamura T (2002). Spinal cord repair in neonatal rats: a correlation between axonal regeneration and functional recovery. Eur J Neurosci. 15 (6): 969-74. Summary: The present study aimed to analyse how anatomical regeneration contributes to functional recovery after experimental spinal cord repair. Thoracic spinal cord of neonatal rats was completely transected to make a gap and repaired by grafting a section of embryonic spinal cord. Six weeks after surgery, outcome of locomotor performance was assessed using an open field locomotor scale (BBB scale). Axonal regeneration across the repaired site was quantitatively assessed in the raphe, vestibular, and red nuclei and the sensorimotor cortex by a retrograde tracing method. The rats that had no labelled neurons in any of the supraspinal nuclei showed no hind-forelimb coordination. The rats that had labelled neurons in the brainstem nuclei but not in the sensorimotor cortex showed hind-forelimb coordination of varying grades depending on the amount of regeneration. The rats that had labelled neurons in all of the examined nuclei showed almost normal locomotion. In addition to a relationship between distribution of the labelled neurons and functional recovery, a positive correlation was observed between number of the labelled neurons in each of the supraspinal nuclei and locomotor performance of the rat. Thus the grade of restored function appeared to be regulated by distribution and number of fibres regenerated across the repaired site and into the target region. These results suggest that accurate reconstruction of neural connections is essential for significant functional recovery after spinal cord repair. Department of Integrative Brain Science, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.