Experimental study on MRI evaluation of the course of cervical spinal cord injury

Ohta, K; Fujimura, Y; Nakamura, M; Watanabe, M; Yato, Y
August 1999
Spinal Cord;Aug1999, Vol. 37 Issue 8, p580
Academic Journal
Study Design: An experimental study was conducted to evaluate MRI signal changes within the spinal cord after the injury in rats. Objectives: To clarify the significance of MRI signal changes in the injured cervical cord. Setting: Tokyo, Japan. Methods: Cervical spinal cord injury was produced in rats by placing a 20-g, or 35-g weight on exposed dura at the C6 level for 5 min (20 g- or 35 g-compression group). Motor function was evaluated by the inclined-plane method at 2, 7 and 28 days after the injury. T1- and T2-weighted images were produced by the spin-echo method with a static magnetic field strength of 2.0 tesla, at 2 and 28 days after the injury, and then the histopathological examinations were performed. Results: In the 20-g compression group, which recovered from the paralysis at 28 days, MR images were T1 iso signal/T2 high signal 2 days after the injury and T1 iso signal/T2 high signal after 28 days. The changes in MRI signal 2 and 28 days represented edema and gliosis, respectively. In the 35-g compression group, which incompletely recovered from paralysis at 28 days. MR images were T1 iso-signal/T2 low signal surrounded by high signal 2 days after the injury and T1 low/T2 high signal at 28 days. The MRI signal changes 2 and 28 days reflected hemorrhage with edema and cavities, respectively. Conclusion: T2 low signal of the spinal cord observed early after injury reflects hemorrhage and may serve as an indicator of a poor prognosis. T1 low/T2 high signals from the subacute to chronic period indicated persistence of paralysis and limited recovery of function.


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