Alteration of complex IV and acetylcholine-related enzymes in experimental spinal cord injury

G. Brambilla, G. Sangiovanni, R. Pugliese, G. Campagna, R. Imberti, G. Bernocchi, G. Facchetti, D. Curti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acute, severe injury of the rabbit spinal cord, induced by the weight-drop method, causes alterations of the enzyme activities related to cholinergic and energy metabolism. Morphological examinations at the trauma site show degenerative processes in neurons 0.5 hr posttrauma and a marked decrease in the number of living cells 24 hrs later. Both biochemical and cytochemical findings show that the tissue metabolic and morphologic derangement, caused by severe spinal cord injury, is mostly confined to the gray matter at an early stage (0.5 hr), whereas 24 hrs later the white matter is also involved. The decrease in choline acetyltransferase and acetylcholinesterase activities in the gray matter parallels the impairment of complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase) of the respiratory chain and the presence of morphological alteration in neurons. The dramatic drop in the enzyme activities, observed 24 hrs after the induction of the severe trauma is clearly associated with the loss of cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-219
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1996


  • acetylcholinesterase metabolism
  • choline acetyltransferase metabolism
  • cholinergic system
  • cytochrome C oxidase metabolism
  • oxygen consumption
  • spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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