A clinically relevant blunt spinal cord injury model in the regeneration competent axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) tail

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A randomized controlled and blinded animal trial was conducted in the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), which has the ability to regenerate from transectional spinal cord injury (SCI). The objective of the present study was to investigate the axolotl's ability to regenerate from a blunt spinal cord trauma in a clinical setting. Axolotls were block‑randomized to the intervention (n=6) or sham group (n=6). A laminectomy of two vertebrae at the level caudal to the hind limbs was performed. To induce a blunt SCI, a 25 g rod was released on the exposed spinal cord. Multiple modalities were applied at baseline (pre‑surgery), and subsequently every third week for a total of 9 weeks. Gradient echo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was applied to assess anatomical regeneration. To support this non‑invasive modality, regeneration was assessed by histology, and functional regeneration was investigated using swimming tests and functional neurological examinations. MRI suggested regeneration within 6 to 9 weeks. Histological analysis at 9 weeks confirmed regeneration; however, this regeneration was not complete. By the experimental end, all animals exhibited restored full neurological function. The present study demonstrated that the axolotl is capable of regenerating a contusion SCI; however, the duration of complete regeneration required further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental and Therapeutic Medicine
Volume17
Issue3
Pages (from-to)2322–2328
ISSN1792-1015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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