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In JoVE (1)
- A Novel Method for Assessing Proximal and Distal Forelimb Function in the Rat: the Irvine, Beatties and Bresnahan (IBB) Forelimb Scale
Other Publications (22)
- Physiology & Behavior
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Behavioural Brain Research
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Journal of Neurotrauma
- Journal of Neurotrauma
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Neurochemical Research
- Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews
- Behavioural Brain Research
- Behavioural Brain Research
- Journal of Neuroinflammation
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- The European Journal of Neuroscience
- Nature Neuroscience
- Journal of Neurotrauma
- Translational Stroke Research
- Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Articles by Adam R. Ferguson in JoVE
A Novel Method for Assessing Proximal and Distal Forelimb Function in the Rat: the Irvine, Beatties and Bresnahan (IBB) Forelimb Scale
Karen-Amanda Irvine, Adam R. Ferguson, Kathleen D. Mitchell, Stephanie B. Beattie, Michael S. Beattie, Jacqueline C. Bresnahan
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco
Here we will describe a rodent behavioral assay that can detect recovery of both proximal and distal forelimb function including digit movements during a naturally occurring behavior that does not require extensive training or deprivation to enhance motivation.
Other articles by Adam R. Ferguson on PubMed
Physiology & Behavior. Nov, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12419402
Rats spinally transected at the second thoracic vertebra can learn to maintain their leg in a flexed position if they receive legshock for extending the limb. These rats display an increase in the duration of a flexion response that minimizes net shock exposure. The current set of experiments was designed to determine whether the acquisition of this behavioral response is mediated by the neurons of the spinal cord (i.e., is centrally mediated) or reflects a peripheral modification (e.g., a change in muscle tension). Experiment 1 found that preventing information from reaching the spinal cord by severing the sciatic nerve blocked the acquisition of this behavioral response. Spinalized rats also failed to learn if the spinal cord was anesthetized with lidocaine during exposure to response-contingent shock (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 demonstrated that prior exposure to response-contingent shock on one hindleg facilitated acquisition of the response when subjects were later tested on the opposite leg. These findings suggest that acquisition of the instrumental response depends on neurons within the spinal cord.
Instrumental Learning Within the Spinal Cord: IV. Induction and Retention of the Behavioral Deficit Observed After Noncontingent Shock
Behavioral Neuroscience. Dec, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12492302
Spinalized rats given shock whenever 1 hind leg is extended learn to maintain that leg in a flexed position, a simple form of instrumental learning. Rats given shock independent of leg position do not exhibit an increase in flexion duration. Experiment 1 showed that 6 min of intermittent legshock can produce this deficit. Intermittent tailshock undermines learning (Experiments 2-3), and this effect lasts at least 2 days (Experiment 4). Exposure to continuous shock did not induce a deficit (Experiment 5) but did induce antinociception (Experiment 6). Intermittent shock did not induce antinociception (Experiment 6). Experiment 7 addressed an alternative interpretation of the results, and Experiment 8 showed that presenting a continuous tailshock while intermittent legshock is applied can prevent the deficit.
Instrumental Learning Within the Spinal Cord: V. Evidence the Behavioral Deficit Observed After Noncontingent Nociceptive Stimulation Reflects an Intraspinal Modification
Behavioural Brain Research. May, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12742252
Spinally transected rats given leg shock whenever one hindlimb is extended learn to maintain the leg in a flexed position, which minimizes net shock exposure. Yoked rats, that receive an equal amount of shock independent of leg position (noncontingent shock), do not exhibit an increase in flexion duration. Yoked rats also fail to learn when response contingent shock is applied to the previously shocked leg, a behavioral deficit that resembles learned helplessness. This deficit could reflect either a peripheral (e.g. muscle fatigue) or central effect. Experiment 1 showed that spinalized rats given noncontingent shock to one hind limb fail to learn when response-contingent shock is applied to the contralateral leg. Experiment 2 demonstrated that blocking the afferent input to the spinal cord, by cutting the sciatic nerve, blocked the development of the deficit. Experiment 3 found that intrathecal lidocaine has a protective effect and prevents the deficit. These findings suggest that noncontingent nociceptive stimulation induces an intraspinal modification that undermines behavioral potential.
GABA(A) Receptor Activation is Involved in Noncontingent Shock Inhibition of Instrumental Conditioning in Spinal Rats
Behavioral Neuroscience. Aug, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12931964
Previous work has demonstrated that the spinal cord, isolated from higher neural structures, can support a simple form of instrumental learning. Furthermore, preexposure to uncontrollable (noncontingent) shock to the leg or tail inhibits this form of learning. The present study explores the role of GABA(A) receptor modulation on this inhibitory effect in spinal cord-transected rats. Intrathecal administration of the GABA(A) receptor antagonist bicuculline blocked induction and expression of the inhibition. The GABA(A) receptor agonist muscimol inhibited learning in a dose-dependent manner. However, this effect was transient and showed no additivity with shock. The findings suggest that GABA(A) receptor activation may work like a pharmacological switch that is activated by noncontingent shock to inhibit instrumental conditioning within the spinal cord.
Psychopharmacology. Aug, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15060758
Exposure to moderate tail shock [3, 0.75 s, 1 mA, 20 s interstimulus interval (ISI)] can enhance pain reactivity (hyperalgesia) in rats. This hyperalgesia reflects an unconditioned response that transfers across contexts and is associated with enhanced Pavlovian fear conditioning to aversive unconditioned stimuli (US). It is possible that moderate shock also enhances learning about appetitive stimuli such as a reinforcing drug.
The Behavioral Deficit Observed Following Noncontingent Shock in Spinalized Rats is Prevented by the Protein Synthesis Inhibitor Cycloheximide
Behavioral Neuroscience. Jun, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15174945
Spinalized rats that receive shock when 1 hind limb is extended (contingent shock) exhibit an increase in flexion duration, a simple form of instrumental learning. Rats that receive shock independent of leg position (noncontingent shock) do not exhibit an increase in flexion duration and fail to learn when tested with contingent shock 24 hr later. It appears that noncontingent shock induces an intraspinal modification that inhibits the capacity to learn. The authors propose that the mechanisms that underlie this effect depend on de novo protein synthesis. To evaluate this hypothesis, the authors gave spinalized rats the protein synthesis inhibitor Cycloheximide (CXM) or saline intrathecally prior to, or immediately after, noncontingent shock exposure. Twenty-four hours later, rats were tested with contingent shock. Rats that received the vehicle and noncontingent shock failed to learn. CXM-treated shocked rats learned normally, suggesting that the learning deficit depends on protein synthesis within the spinal cord.
A Simple Post Hoc Transformation That Improves the Metric Properties of the BBB Scale for Rats with Moderate to Severe Spinal Cord Injury
Journal of Neurotrauma. Nov, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15684652
The Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) open field locomotor scale is a popular measure of functional recovery following spinal cord injury (SCI). To examine the metric properties of the scale, we performed detailed analyses of BBB scores from 643 rats with moderate and severe SCI (12.5, 25, or 50 mm MASCIS) from two different laboratories. The analyses revealed that the BBB scale is ordinal in the most frequently used portion of the scale. Higher scores (14 and greater) were not frequently assigned in the dataset as animals with mild injuries were not sampled, making the ordinal nature of the upper end of the scale difficult to assess. The rare scores assigned in this range disproportionately increased variance. Under these conditions collapsing scores above 14 into one category increased effect size. Analysis of the lower region of the scale revealed that some scores (2 and 3) were rarely assigned, implying a discontinuity in the scale. The discontinuous nature of the lower portion of the scale presents a problem for both parametric and nonparametric statistical analyses. Pooling scores 2/3/4 eliminated the gap, enhancing the metric properties of the scale. Under the injury conditions evaluated, the transformation helped assure that the data were continuous and ordered. Further, interval durations were comparable across the entire range of the transformed scale, allowing application of parametric statistical techniques. The transformation should be applied in a post hoc fashion to reduce variability and increase power in cases where few scores fall in upper portion of the scale.
Journal of Neurotrauma. Dec, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15684770
Prior studies have shown that neurons within the spinal cord are sensitive to response-outcome relations, a form of instrumental learning. Spinally transected rats that receive shock to one hind leg learn to maintain the leg in a flexed position that minimizes net shock exposure (controllable shock). Prior exposure to uncontrollable stimulation (intermittent shock) inhibits this spinally mediated learning. Here it is shown that uncontrollable stimulation undermines the recovery of function after a spinal contusion injury. Rats received a moderate injury (12.5 mm drop) and recovery was monitored for 6 weeks. In Experiment 1, rats received varying amounts of intermittent tailshock 1-2 days after injury. Just 6 min of intermittent shock impaired locomotor recovery. In Experiment 2, rats were shocked 1, 4, or 14 days after injury. Delaying the application of shock exposure reduced its negative effect on recovery. In Experiment 3, rats received controllable or uncontrollable shock 24 and 48 h after injury. Only uncontrollable shock disrupted recovery of locomotor function. Uncontrollably shocked rats also exhibited higher vocalization thresholds to aversive stimuli (heat and shock) applied below the injury. Across the three experiments, exposure to uncontrollable shock, (1) delayed the recovery of bladder function; (2) led to greater mortality and spasticity; and (3) increased tissue loss (white and gray matter) in the region of the injury. The results indicate that uncontrollable stimulation impairs recovery after spinal cord injury and suggest that reducing sources of uncontrolled afferent input (e.g., from peripheral tissue injury) could benefit patient recovery.
Behavioral Neuroscience. Apr, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15839800
Following spinal transection of the upper thoracic spinal cord, male Sprague-Dawley rats given legshock whenever a hindlimb is extended learn to maintain the leg in a flexed position. The region of the cord that mediates this instrumental learning was isolated using neuroanatomical tracing, localized infusion of lidocaine, and surgical transections. DiI and Fluoro-Gold microinjection at the site of shock application labeled motor neuron bodies of lamina IX in the lower lumbar region. Local application of the Na-super++ channel blocker lidocaine disrupted learning when it was applied over a region extending from the lower lumbar (L3) to upper sacral (S2) cord. The drug had no effect rostral or caudal to this region. Surgical transections as low as L4 had no effect on learning. Learning also survived a dual transection at L4 and S3, but not L4 and S2. The results suggest that the essential neural circuit lies between L4 and S3.
A Sublethal Dose of TNFalpha Potentiates Kainate-induced Excitotoxicity in Optic Nerve Oligodendrocytes
Neurochemical Research. Jun-Jul, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16187221
Glutamate receptor-induced cell death, known as excitotoxicity in both neurons and oligodendrocytes, has been implicated as a common pathway of cell death in numerous central nervous system (CNS) diseases and trauma. Research in both neuronal and oligodendrocyte excitotoxicity has examined glutamate's receptor-mediated effects on CNS cells, and explored strategies to protect cells exposed to the elevated glutamate levels that occur in CNS trauma and disease. Proinflammatory cytokines are also elevated in the injured CNS, and have also been implicated in CNS cell death. Recently, several laboratories have examined cytokines' effects on neuronal and glial excitotoxicity. Here, we review literature concerning the dynamic susceptibility of both neurons and oligodendrocytes to excitotoxicity, and present new data from our laboratory showing that the susceptibility of oligodendrocytes to excitotoxicity is acutely potentiated by the proinflammatory cytokine TNFalpha.
Instrumental Learning Within the Spinal Cord: Underlying Mechanisms and Implications for Recovery After Injury
Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews. Dec, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17099112
Using spinally transected rats, research has shown that neurons within the L4-S2 spinal cord are sensitive to response-outcome (instrumental) relations. This learning depends on a form of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-mediated plasticity. Instrumental training enables subsequent learning, and this effect has been linked to the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Rats given uncontrollable stimulation later exhibit impaired instrumental learning, and this deficit lasts up to 48 hr. The induction of the deficit can be blocked by prior training with controllable shock, the concurrent presentation of a tonic stimulus that induces antinociception, or pretreatment with an NMDA or gamma-aminobutyric acid-A antagonist. The expression of the deficit depends on a kappa opioid. Uncontrollable stimulation enhances mechanical reactivity (allodynia), and treatments that induce allodynia (e.g., inflammation) inhibit learning. In intact animals, descending serotonergic neurons exert a protective effect that blocks the adverse consequences of uncontrollable stimulation. Uncontrollable, but not controllable, stimulation impairs the recovery of function after a contusion injury.
Exposure to Intermittent Nociceptive Stimulation Under Pentobarbital Anesthesia Disrupts Spinal Cord Function in Rats
Psychopharmacology. Jun, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17297638
Spinal cord plasticity can be assessed in spinal rats using an instrumental learning paradigm in which subjects learn an instrumental response, hindlimb flexion, to minimize shock exposure. Prior exposure to uncontrollable intermittent stimulation blocks learning in spinal rats but has no effect if given before spinal transection, suggesting that supraspinal systems modulate nociceptive input to the spinal cord, rendering it less susceptible to the detrimental consequences of uncontrollable stimulation.
Behavioural Brain Research. May, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17383022
Nociceptive stimulation, at an intensity that elicits pain-related behavior, attenuates recovery of locomotor and bladder functions, and increases tissue loss after a contusion injury. These data imply that nociceptive input (e.g., from tissue damage) can enhance the loss of function after injury, and that potential clinical treatments, such as pretreatment with an analgesic, may protect the damaged system from further secondary injury. The current study examined this hypothesis and showed that a potential treatment (morphine) did not have a protective effect. In fact, morphine appeared to exacerbate the effects of nociceptive stimulation. Experiment 1 showed that after spinal cord injury 20mg/kg of systemic morphine was necessary to induce strong antinociception and block behavioral reactivity to shock treatment, a dose that was much higher than that needed for sham controls. In Experiment 2, contused rats were given one of three doses of morphine (Vehicle, 10, 20mg/kg) prior to exposure to uncontrollable electrical stimulation or restraint alone. Despite decreasing nociceptive reactivity, morphine did not attenuate the long-term consequences of shock. Rats treated with morphine and shock had higher mortality rates, and displayed allodynic responses to innocuous sensory stimuli three weeks later. Independent of shock, morphine per se undermined recovery of sensory function. Rats treated with morphine alone also had significantly larger lesions than those treated with saline. These results suggest that nociceptive stimulation affects recovery despite a blockade of pain-elicited behavior. The results are clinically important because they suggest that opiate treatment may adversely affect the recovery of function after injury.
Two Chronic Motor Training Paradigms Differentially Influence Acute Instrumental Learning in Spinally Transected Rats
Behavioural Brain Research. Jun, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17434606
The effect of two chronic motor training paradigms on the ability of the lumbar spinal cord to perform an acute instrumental learning task was examined in neonatally (postnatal day 5; P5) spinal cord transected (i.e., spinal) rats. At approximately P30, rats began either unipedal hindlimb stand training (Stand-Tr; 20-25min/day, 5days/week), or bipedal hindlimb step training (Step-Tr; 20min/day; 5days/week) for 7 weeks. Non-trained spinal rats (Non-Tr) served as controls. After 7 weeks all groups were tested on the flexor-biased instrumental learning paradigm. We hypothesized that (1) Step-Tr rats would exhibit an increased capacity to learn the flexor-biased task relative to Non-Tr subjects, as locomotion involves repetitive training of the tibialis anterior (TA), the ankle flexor whose activation is important for successful instrumental learning, and (2) Stand-Tr rats would exhibit a deficit in acute motor learning, as unipedal training activates the ipsilateral ankle extensors, but not flexors. Results showed no differences in acute learning potential between Non-Tr and Step-Tr rats, while the Stand-Tr group showed a reduced capacity to learn the acute task. Further investigation of the Stand-Tr group showed that, while both the ipsilateral and contralateral hindlimbs were significantly impaired in their acute learning potential, the contralateral, untrained hindlimbs exhibited significantly greater learning deficits. These results suggest that different types of chronic peripheral input may have a significant impact on the ability to learn a novel motor task, and demonstrate the potential for experience-dependent plasticity in the spinal cord in the absence of supraspinal connectivity.
Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 18039385
Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and mature oligodendrocytes are both lost in central nervous system injury and disease. Activated microglia may play a role in OPC and oligodendrocyte loss or replacement, but it is not clear how the responses of OPCs and oligodendrocytes to activated microglia differ.
Cell Death After Spinal Cord Injury is Exacerbated by Rapid TNF Alpha-induced Trafficking of GluR2-lacking AMPARs to the Plasma Membrane
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Oct, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18971481
Glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS, is implicated in both normal neurotransmission and excitotoxicity. Numerous in vitro findings indicate that the ionotropic glutamate receptor, AMPAR, can rapidly traffic from intracellular stores to the plasma membrane, altering neuronal excitability. These receptor trafficking events are thought to be involved in CNS plasticity as well as learning and memory. AMPAR trafficking has recently been shown to be regulated by glial release of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) in vitro. This has potential relevance to several CNS disorders, because many pathological states have a neuroinflammatory component involving TNFalpha. However, TNFalpha-induced trafficking of AMPARs has only been explored in primary or slice cultures and has not been demonstrated in preclinical models of CNS damage. Here, we use confocal and image analysis techniques to demonstrate that spinal cord injury (SCI) induces trafficking of AMPARs to the neuronal membrane. We then show that this effect is mimicked by nanoinjections of TNFalpha, which produces specific trafficking of GluR2-lacking receptors which enhance excitotoxicity. To determine if TNFalpha-induced trafficking affects neuronal cell death, we sequestered TNFalpha after SCI using a soluble TNFalpha receptor, and significantly reduced both AMPAR trafficking and neuronal excitotoxicity in the injury penumbra. The data provide the first evidence linking rapid TNFalpha-induced AMPAR trafficking to early excitotoxic secondary injury after CNS trauma in vivo, and demonstrate a novel way in which pathological states hijack mechanisms involved in normal synaptic plasticity to produce cell death.
Group I Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors Control Metaplasticity of Spinal Cord Learning Through a Protein Kinase C-dependent Mechanism
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Nov, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 19005059
Neurons within the spinal cord can support several forms of plasticity, including response-outcome (instrumental) learning. After a complete spinal transection, experimental subjects are capable of learning to hold the hindlimb in a flexed position (response) if shock (outcome) is delivered to the tibialis anterior muscle when the limb is extended. This response-contingent shock produces a robust learning that is mediated by ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs). Exposure to nociceptive stimuli that are independent of limb position (e.g., uncontrollable shock; peripheral inflammation) produces a long-term (>24 h) inhibition of spinal learning. This inhibition of plasticity in spinal learning is itself a form of plasticity that requires iGluR activation and protein synthesis. Plasticity of plasticity (metaplasticity) in the CNS has been linked to group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (subtypes mGluR1 and mGluR5) and activation of protein kinase C (PKC). The present study explores the role of mGluRs and PKC in the metaplastic inhibition of spinal cord learning using a combination of behavioral, pharmacological, and biochemical techniques. Activation of group I mGluRs was found to be both necessary and sufficient for metaplastic inhibition of spinal learning. PKC was activated by stimuli that inhibit spinal learning, and inhibiting PKC activity restored the capacity for spinal learning. Finally, a PKC inhibitor blocked the metaplastic inhibition of spinal learning produced by a group I mGluR agonist. The data strongly suggest that group I mGluRs control metaplasticity of spinal learning through a PKC-dependent mechanism, providing a potential therapeutic target for promoting use-dependent plasticity after spinal cord injury.
The European Journal of Neuroscience. Jul, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20646045
AMPA receptors (AMPARs) are critical for synaptic plasticity, and are subject to alterations based on subunit composition and receptor trafficking to and from the plasma membrane. One of the most potent regulators of AMPAR trafficking is the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, which is involved in physiological regulation of synaptic strength (Beattie et al., (2002) Science, 295, 2282-2285; Stellwagen and Malenka, (2006) Nature, 440, 1054-1059) and is also present at high concentrations after CNS injury. Here, we review evidence that TNF can rapidly alter the surface expression of AMPARs so that the proportion of Ca(++) -permeable receptors is increased and that this increase, in combination with increased levels of extracellular glutamate after injury, plays an important role in enhancing excitotoxic cell death after CNS injury. Thus, the pathophysiological hijacking of a critical regulator of synaptic plasticity and homeostasis by the secondary injury cascade may represent a new therapeutic target for neuroprotection.
Nature Neuroscience. Dec, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 21076427
Although axonal regeneration after CNS injury is limited, partial injury is frequently accompanied by extensive functional recovery. To investigate mechanisms underlying spontaneous recovery after incomplete spinal cord injury, we administered C7 spinal cord hemisections to adult rhesus monkeys and analyzed behavioral, electrophysiological and anatomical adaptations. We found marked spontaneous plasticity of corticospinal projections, with reconstitution of fully 60% of pre-lesion axon density arising from sprouting of spinal cord midline-crossing axons. This extensive anatomical recovery was associated with improvement in coordinated muscle recruitment, hand function and locomotion. These findings identify what may be the most extensive natural recovery of mammalian axonal projections after nervous system injury observed to date, highlighting an important role for primate models in translational disease research.
Journal of Neurotrauma. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21970562
Abstract The admission noncontrast head computed tomography (CT) scan has been demonstrated to be one of several key early clinical and imaging features in the challenging problem of prediction of long-term outcome after acute traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this study, we employ two novel approaches to the problem of imaging classification and outcome prediction in acute TBI. First, we employ the novel technique of quantitative CT (qCT) image analysis to provide more objective, reproducible measures of the abnormal features of the admission head CT in acute TBI. We show that the incorporation of quantitative, rather than qualitative, CT features results in a significant improvement in prediction of the 6-month Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS-E) score over a wide spectrum of injury severity. Second, we employ principal components analysis (PCA) to demonstrate the interdependence of certain predictive variables. Relatively few prior studies of outcome prediction in acute TBI have used a multivariate approach that explicitly takes into account the potential covariance among clinical and CT predictive variables. We demonstrate that several predictors, including midline shift, cistern effacement, subdural hematoma volume, and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score are related to one another. Rather than being independent features, their importance may be related to their status as surrogate measures of a more fundamental underlying clinical feature, such as the severity of intracranial mass effect. We believe that objective computational tools and data-driven analytical methods hold great promise for neurotrauma research, and may ultimately have a role in image analysis for clinical care.
Translational Stroke Research. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22207883
Substantial scientific progress has been made in the past 50 years in delineating many of the biological mechanisms involved in the primary and secondary injuries following trauma to the spinal cord and brain. These advances have highlighted numerous potential therapeutic approaches that may help restore function after injury. Despite these advances, bench-to-bedside translation has remained elusive. Translational testing of novel therapies requires standardized measures of function for comparison across different laboratories, paradigms, and species. Although numerous functional assessments have been developed in animal models, it remains unclear how to best integrate this information to describe the complete translational "syndrome" produced by neurotrauma. The present paper describes a multivariate statistical framework for integrating diverse neurotrauma data and reviews the few papers to date that have taken an information-intensive approach for basic neurotrauma research. We argue that these papers can be described as the seminal works of a new field that we call "syndromics", which aim to apply informatics tools to disease models to characterize the full set of mechanistic inter-relationships from multi-scale data. In the future, centralized databases of raw neurotrauma data will enable better syndromic approaches and aid future translational research, leading to more efficient testing regimens and more clinically relevant findings.
Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. Feb, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22331214
BACKGROUND: Reliable outcome measures are essential for preclinical modeling of spinal cord injury (SCI) in primates. MEASURES: need to be sensitive to both increases and decreases in function in order to demonstrate potential positive or negative effects of therapeutics. OBJECTIVES: To develop behavioral tests and analyses to assess recovery of function after SCI in the nonhuman primate. METHODS: In all, 24 male rhesus macaques were subjected to complete C7 lateral hemisection. The authors scored recovery of function in an open field and during hand tasks in a restraining chair. In addition, EMG analyses were performed in the open field, during hand tasks, and while animals walked on a treadmill. Both control and treated monkeys that received candidate therapeutics were included in this report to determine whether the behavioral assays were capable of detecting changes in function over a wide range of outcomes. RESULTS: The behavioral assays are shown to be sensitive to detecting a wide range of motor functional outcomes after cervical hemisection in the nonhuman primate. Population curves on recovery of function were similar across the different tasks; in general, the population recovers to about 50% of baseline performance on measures of forelimb function. CONCLUSIONS: The behavioral outcome measures that the authors developed in this preclinical nonhuman primate model of SCI can detect a broad range of motor recovery. A set of behavioral assays is an essential component of a model that will be used to test efficacies of translational candidate therapies for SCI.