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Feasibility study on mouse live imaging after spinal cord injury and poly(lactide-co-glycolide) bridge implantation.

  • Author(s): Anzalone, Andrea;
  • Chacko, Jenu V;
  • Nishi, Rebecca A;
  • Dumont, Courtney;
  • Smith, Dominique;
  • Shea, Lonnie D;
  • Digman, Michelle A;
  • Cummings, Brian J;
  • Anderson, Aileen J
  • et al.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes permanent paralysis below the damaged area. SCI is linked to neuronal death, demyelination, and limited ability of neuronal fibers to regenerate. Regeneration capacity is limited by the presence of many inhibitory factors in the spinal cord environment. The use of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) bridges has demonstrated the ability to sustain long-term regeneration after SCI in a cervical hemisection mouse model. Critically, imaging of regenerating fibers and the myelination status of these neuronal filaments is a severe limitation to progress in SCI research. We used a transgenic mouse model that selectively expresses fluorescent reporters (eGFP) in the neuronal fibers of the spinal cord. We implanted a PLG bridge at C5 vertebra after hemisection and evaluated in live animals' neuronal fibers at the bridge interface and within the bridge 8 weeks postimplant. These in vivo observations were correlated with in situ evaluation 12 weeks postimplantation. We sectioned the spinal cords and performed fluorescent bioimaging on the sections to observe neuronal fibers going through the bridge. In parallel, to visualize myelination of regenerated axons, we exploited the characteristics of the third-harmonic generation arising from the myelin structure in these fixed sections.

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