Effects of Glycine Administration on Canine Experimental Spinal Spasticity and the Levels of Glycine, Glutamate, and Aspartate in the Lumbar Spinal Cord

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Twelve female mongrel dogs were made paraplegic by midthoracic spinal cord transection. Beginning at 9 weeks posttransection, either glycine (50 mg/kg) or saline was injected intramuscularly each day and the signs of spinal spasticity were assessed clinically. After treating the dogs for 3 weeks, we removed the lumbar enlargement of each dog and microdissected it into gray and white areas which we assayed for glycine, glutamate, and aspartate content. Some of the clinical signs of spasticity improved in the animals injected with glycine compared to the saline-injected controls. The content of glycine was significantly elevated in the central gray matter and ventral medial white matter of the glycinetreated dogs. The levels of glutamate were also significantly elevated in the central, lateral ventral, and medial ventral gray matter and in the dorsal lateral and ventral medial white matter of the glycine-treated dogs. The possible role of these segmental putative neurotransmitters in spinal spasticity is discussed.

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