Behavioral study of rats with spinal cord hemisection in the midthoracic level

Athanasios Chatzisotiriou, Dorothea Kapoukranidou, Elena Angelidou, Maria Albani


Introduction: Various experimental models exist in order to induce a spinal cord lesion and to monitor the potential recovery of the animals, with or without any therapeutic means. From the behavioral point of view, the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) score is the most popular scale, used consistently to evaluate the effect of the traumatism onto the motor behavior of the animals. Although it is well established and it is regarded as the “gold standard” in the literature, in case of partial lesions, with high rate of spontaneous recovery, more elaborate tests may be indicated. Materials-methods: In this study we performed spinal cord hemisection at the midthoracic level in adult Wistar rats, which were evaluated postoperatively with BBB, as well as with a more extended behavioral protocol, comprising grid walking and footprint analysis. Results: Although BBB score improved, grid walking, stride length, step length and limb rotation did not reach statistical significance. Conclusion: More sensitive motor behavior protocols are needed to corroborate the results of the BBB test and to detect subtle defects in sensorimotor coordination. This is especially true in cases of partial lesions, due to a high rate of spontaneous gross motor recovery.


spinal cord injury, spinal cord hemisection, motor behaviour evaluation

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