Grant Recipient: Christopher Shields, M.D., Professor and Chairman, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY
Project Title: Investigation on the pathogenesis of post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS): the roles of central canal occlusion and focal arachnoiditis on the contused and intact rat spinal cord
Dates: September 30, 2005 August 31, 2006
Grant Amount: $50,000
Syringomyelia is a major complication following spinal cord injury. Its occurrence causes pain and additional neurological impairments. Treatment of syringomyelia following spinal cord injury is limited. The absence of an animal model of post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS) limits our ability to develop appropriate treatments for this condition. Using a rat, we believe that a model of PTS can be created by surgically induced focal arachnoiditis in the cervical area. We believe that the creation of PTS will be particularly fruitful following an associated spinal cord injury. We plan to surgically create a model that will cause post-traumatic syringomyelia. Animals will be monitored for one year following the surgery by sequential cervical MRI scans, and electrophysiological techniques that monitor descending motor pathways and ascending sensory pathways. Moreover, the rats will be sacrificed to assess the morphological changes on year after surgery. We postulate that if PTS does develop, there will be significant behavioral, electrophysiological, imagine, and morphological changes. If we are successful in creating such a model, this will allow the development of a series of innovative therapies for the management of PTS.