Journal of Neurocytology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 203–211 | Cite as

The dynamics of axolemmal disruption in guinea pig spinal cord following compression

  • Riyi Shi


Membrane damage has been postulated as a critical factor in mediating axonal degeneration in brain and spinal cord trauma. Despite compelling evidence of membrane disruption as a result of physical insults in both in vivo and in vitro studies, the dynamics of such damage over the time post injury in in vivo studies has not been well documented. Using a well-characterized in vivo guinea pig spinal cord compression model and horseradish peroxidase exclusion assay, we have documented significant membrane disruption at 1 hr, 3 days, and 7 days following injury. Furthermore, the membrane damage was found to spread laterally 10 mm beyond the center of original compression site in both rostral and caudal directions. A second-degree polynomial fit of the measured data predicts a bilateral spread of approximately 20–21 mm of membrane disruption from the epicenter of injury over a period of about 20 days. Thus, this study shows that membrane damage exists days, and possibly weeks, after spinal cord trauma in live guinea pigs. This provides the evidence necessary to investigate the role of membrane damage in triggering axonal deterioration in the future. Furthermore, this study has also revealed a long therapeutical window for membrane repair and functional enhancement following traumatic injury in the central nervous system.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riyi Shi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Institute for Applied Neurology, School of Veterinary MedicinePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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