Natural Progression of Spinal Cord Transection Injury and Reorganization of Neural Pathways

Ashwati Vipin, Xin Yuan Thow, Hasan Mir, Jukka Kortelainen, Janani Manivannan, Hasan Al-Nashash, Angelo Homayoun All

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The spinal cord injury (SCI) transection model accurately represents traumatic laceration and has been widely used to study the natural history and reorganization of neuropathways and plasticity in the central nervous system (CNS). This model is highly reproducible, which makes it ideal for studying the progression of injury as well as endogenous recovery and plasticity in the CNS. Five experimental groups of transection injury were designed: Left hemitransection; right hemitransection; double hemitransection; complete transection injuries; and laminectomy-only control. We used somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) as an objective electrophysiological assessment tool and motor behavior testing (Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan [BBB] scoring) to functionally assess the neural pathways post-injury. Histological examinations were carried out to investigate the extent of injury and spinal cord morphological changes. Significant (p < 0.05) electrophysiological changes were observed and were verified by an increase in SSEP amplitude in somatosensory cortices for all four injury groups during days 4 and 7 post-injury. Degree of plasticity among the groups was distinguished by changes in SSEP amplitude and BBB scores. Our results support our previous published findings (using a contusive model of SCI), which shows that the reorganization of neuropathways and plasticity persist in time and are not transient phenomena. SSEPs are a reliable tool to assess the functionality of neural pathways and their projections to higher CNS structures such as the cortices. They enable us to determine residual function and the changes within the CNS post-injury and consistently track these events over time. The results from our study provide supporting evidence for the presence of neuronal network reorganization and plasticity in the CNS after transection SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2191-2201
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016


  • electrophysiology
  • neuroplasticity
  • traumatic spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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