Gangliosides, complex glycolipids of the nervous system cell membranes, have been found effective both in reducing the degree of ischemic injury and in stimulating neuronal regeneration during the recovery period. In order to investigate their neuroprotective effect during spinal cord ischemia, 60 male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent occlusion of the thoracic aorta and both sub-clavian arteries for 13 min. In the postoperative period, function of hindlimbs was appraised, daily for 30 days, by a deficit score (0-15). The animals were then killed and spinal cord injury was assessed by a histologic score (0-3) based on the degree of gray and white matter gliosis, number of motor neurons, and white matter myelination. The rats received intraperitoneal injection of placebo (n = 29) or GM-1 30 mg/kg (n = 31) daily, from 2 days prior to surgery to 15 days after. The scores of each group for each day were analyzed by repeated measures analysis of variance. The rate of recovery was better for GM-1 (P <0.001) from the 15th to the 30th day. A trend was seen toward lower scores in the GM-1 group (P = 0.056). Mean histologic scores (placebo = 1.14 ± 0.23 SE, GM-1 = 1.58 ± 0.22 SE) did not differ (Wilcoxon, P = 0.17). The present data support the hypothesis that functional improvement after spinal cord ischemia due to aortic occlusion is enhanced by the administration of gangliosides. Optical microscopy could document only irreversible injury and might not be sensitive enough to detect subtle changes during recovery of neural elements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas