Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2017;35(2):185-216

Whole body vibration (WBV) following spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats: Timing of intervention.

Manthou M1, Abdulla DS2, Pavlov SP3, Jansen R2, Bendella H4, Nohroudi K2, Stein G5, Meyer C5, Ozsoy O6, Ozsoy U7, Behram Kandemir Y7, Sarikcioglu L7, Semler O8, Schoenau E8, Dunlop S9, Angelov DN2.

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Following spinal cord injury (SCI), exercise training provides a wide range of benefits and promotes activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Whole body vibration (WBV) in SCI patients improves walking and spasticity as well as bone and muscle mass. However, little is known about the effects of timing or frequency of intervention.
To determine which WBV-onset improves locomotor and bladder functions and influences synaptic plasticity beneficially.
SCI was followed by WBV starting 1, 7, 14, 28 days after injury (WBV1, WBV7, etc.) and continued for 12 weeks. Intact animals and those receiving SCI but no WBV (No WBV), SCI plus WBV twice daily (2?WBV) and SCI followed by passive hindlimb flexion-extension (PFE) served as controls. Locomotor [BBB rating, foot stepping angle (FSA) and rump-height index (RHI)] as well as bladder function were determined at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 weeks. Following perfusion fixation at 12 weeks, lesion volume and immunofluorescence for astrogliosis (GFAP), microglia (IBA1) and synaptic vesicles (synaptophysin, SYN) were determined.
Compared to the No WBV group, the WB7 and WBV14 groups showed significantly faster speeds of BBB score recovery though this effect was temporary. Considering RHI we detected a sustained improvement in the WBV14 and PFE groups. Bladder function was better in the WBV14, WBV28, 2?WBV and PFE groups. Synaptophysin levels improved in response to WBV7 and WBV14, but worsened after WBV28 in parallel to an increased IBA1 expression. Correlation- and principal components analysis revealed complex relationships between behavioural (BBB, FSA, RHI) and morphological (GFAP, IBA1, SYN) measurements.
WBV started 14 days after SCI provides the most benefit (RHI, bladder); starting at 1day after SCI provides no benefit and starting at 28 days may be detrimental. Increasing the intensity of WBV to twice daily did not provide additional benefit.