Selective vulnerability of white matter during spinal cord ischemia

F. Follis, O. U. Scremin, K. S. Blisard, A. M E Scremin, S. B. Pett, W. J. Scott, R. M. Kessler, J. A. Wernly

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The long-term effects of spinal cord ischemia were studied in 21 rats by lesion scores (LS, n = 21), somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP, n = 16), electromyographic measurements (EMG, n = 12) and histology of the spinal cord (n = 21) 48.5 ± 57.2 days after 10- to 12-min occlusion of the thoracic aorta and subclavian arteries. All the animals were initially paraplegic with a spastic presentation but seven recovered within 2 days (group A), demonstrating low LS (3.4 ± 1.05) normal EMGs (n = 3) and unremarkable histology. The 14 paraplegic animals presented relevant findings of the lumbar cord consisting of white matter lesions only (group B, n = 7) or white and gray matter lesions (group C, n = 7). Group B animals showed severe deficit (LS = 11.8 ± 2.93) without denervation on EMG (n = 5) or muscle atrophy on histology. Group C animals displayed equal impairment (LS = 14.4 ± 0.71), denervation on EMG (n = 4), and muscle atrophy. Resting motor unit activity of groups B and C were significantly different from group A (p <0.001), while LS of groups B and C did not differ (p = 0.083). These data underscore the nature and the extent of white matter lesions during spinal cord ischemia, a finding which has generally been eclipsed by emphasis on gray matter lesions in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Ischemia
  • Paraplegia
  • Spinal cord
  • Thoracic aorta
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Neuroscience(all)


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