The effect of myelotomy following low thoracic spinal cord compression injury in rats

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Myelotomy is a surgical procedure allowing removal of extravasated blood and necrotic tissue that is thought to attenuate secondary injury as well as promote recovery in experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) models and humans. Here we examined in rat whether myelotomy at 48h after low-thoracic compressive SCI provided any benefit over a 12week period. Compared to animals receiving SCI alone, myelotomy worsened BBB scores (p<0.05) and also did not improve plantar stepping, ladder climbing, urinary bladder voiding or sensory function (thermal latency) during the 12-week period. Quantitative analyses of tissue sections at 12weeks showed that myelotomy also did not reduce lesion volume nor alter immunohistochemical markers of axons in spared white matter bridges, microglia, astrocytes or serotinergic fibres. However, myelotomy reduced synaptophysin expression, a marker of synaptic plasticity. We conclude that further studies are required to evaluate myelotomy after SCI. (142 words).

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