A 72-h sedated porcine model of traumatic spinal cord injury

Mathias Møller Thygesen*, Seyar Entezari, Nanna Houlind, Teresa Haugaard Nielsen, Nicholas Østergaard Olsen, Tim Damgaard Nielsen, Mathias Skov, Joel Borgstedt-Bendixen, Alp Tankisi, Mads Rasmussen, Halldór Bjarki Einarsson, Peter Agger, Dariusz Orlowski, Stig Eric Dyrskog, Line Thorup, Michael Pedersen, Mikkel Mylius Rasmussen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: There is an increasing focus on the prevention of secondary injuries following traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI), especially through improvement of spinal cord perfusion and immunological modulation. Such therapeutic strategies require translational and controlled animal models of disease progression of the acute phases of human TSCI. Research question: Is it possible to establish a 72-h sedated porcine model of incomplete thoracic TSCI, enabling controlled use of continuous, invasive, and non-invasive modalities during the entire sub-acute phase of TSCI? Material and methods: A sham-controlled trial was conducted to establish the model, and 10 animals were assigned to either sham or TSCI. All animals underwent a laminectomy, and animals in the TSCI group were subjected to a weight-drop injury. Animals were then kept sedated for 72 h. The amount of injury was assessed by ex-vivo measures MRI-based fiber tractography, histology and immunohistochemistry. Results: In all animals, we were successful in maintaining sedation for 72 h without comprising vital physiological parameters. The MRI-based fiber tractography showed that all TSCI animals revealed a break in the integrity of spinal neurons, whereas histology demonstrated no transversal sections of the spine with complete injury. Notably, some animals displayed signs of secondary ischemic tissue in the cranial and caudal sections. Discussion and conclusions: This study succeeded in producing a porcine model of incomplete TSCI, which was physiologically stable up to 72 h. We believe that this TSCI model will constitute a potential translational model to study the pathophysiology secondary to TSCI in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102813
JournalBrain and Spine
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Critical care model
  • Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
  • Translational animal model
  • Traumatic spinal cord injury


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