Project: Research project

Project Details


This is an established clinical spinal cord injury research center. Four
research projects and a core facility are proposed. Project 1
(Experimental Therapy) will examine the time course and relationships of
tissue ionic and phosphate shifts to traumatic injury. Three hypotheses
will be tested: that phosphates released by lipid peroxidation bind Ca
ions and cause the depression of extracellular Ca activity observed in
injured spinal cords, that the fall in extracellular Ca activity protects
neurons, and that return of extracellular Ca causes secondary tissue damage
due to excessive Na/Ca exchange. Treatments stemming from the hypotheses
will be assessed. Project 2 (Extracellular Ionic and pH Regulation) will
investigate the mechanisms of extracellular ionic changes in acute and
chronic injured spinal cords. Ion-selective microelectrodes will be used
to determine the extent to which extracellular Na, K, Ca, and Cl ionic
changes are due to equilibration and are prolonged due to extracellular
space constriction, and to ascertain whether acid production and tissue
injury are governed by ischemia and serum glucose levels. Project 3
(Axonal Dysfunction) will study axon conduction in dorsal columns of
injured spinal cords, utilizing a new random double pulse stimulation
method to characterize supernormal behavior, fatigue, and refractory period
in injured and demyelinated axons after spinal cord contusion and
compression. The experiments will test the hypotheses that injured axons
release more K ions and are more sensitive to extracellular K ionic
activity changes. Project 4 (Recovery of Motor Dysfunction) will
characterize changes in lumbosacral segmental excitability and interactions
of residual descending tract activity with these segmental changes after
spinal cord injury, focussing on the the effects of 4-aminopyridine, a
blocker of voltage-sensitive K channels, on axonal conduction and segmental
excitability. The Core Facilities will support the research effort in the
center by providing basic histological and physiological services, and
animal care support. Positions for a clinical and a laboratory spinal cord
injury fellow are requested the aim of training independent investigators
in clinical and basic research on spinal cord injury. The overall goals of
this Center are to elucidate mechanisms of axonal loss and dysfunction in
spinal cord injury and to establish a rational basis for treatments of
spinal cord injury.
Effective start/end date12/31/893/31/96


  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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