gms | German Medical Science

62nd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
Joint Meeting with the Polish Society of Neurosurgeons (PNCH)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

7 - 11 May 2011, Hamburg

Air gun impactor – a new device for graded spinal cord injury model in small rodents

Meeting Abstract

  • W. Marcol - Department of Physiology, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland; Department of Neurosurgery, Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny nr 2 w Jastrzebiu-Zdroju, Poland
  • W. Slusarczyk - Department of Physiology, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland; Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
  • J. Lewin-Kowalik - Department of Physiology, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
  • M. Gzik - Department of Applied Mechanics, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland
  • W. Weglarz - Department of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Institute of Nuclear Physics PAN, Cracow, Poland
  • T. Wysokinski - Department of Neurosurgery, Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny nr 2 w Jastrzebiu-Zdroju, Poland

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Polnische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgen. 62. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Polnischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgen (PNCH). Hamburg, 07.-11.05.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. DocDI.05.08

doi: 10.3205/11dgnc133, urn:nbn:de:0183-11dgnc1335

Published: April 28, 2011

© 2011 Marcol et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: We present a new apparatus that enables a partial and controlled damage of rats’ spinal cord white matter by means of precisely adjusted high pressure air stream, with sparing of meninges.

Methods: After anesthesia, a rat was secured on the operation table and the rat’s spine was exposed. A 2-mm-diameter hole was drilled in the Th12 vertebra on the right side, sparing the meninges, and a controlled air blast lasting 0.1 s was applied to the exposed spinal cord of the experimenta animals. In the control group, only a trepanation hole of the spine was performed. Experimental animals were divided into three groups depending on the impact force (gas pressure) acting on the spinal cord and its neurological consequences: E1 – 80kPa – transient neurological deficit – spinal shock E2 – 150kPa – monoplegia or monoparesis E3 – 220 kPa – paraplegia or paraparesis In the 1st, 4th, 7th and 12th week following the surgery, gait analysis (foot print test) was made. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in the 6th post-operative week. At the end of experiment, the animals were subjected to the open field test according to the BBB scale (Basso, Beattie and Bresnaham). Then, after sacrificing the animals, spinal cords were dissected and studied by histological analysis.

Results: Functional examination showed impairment in of motor function. Motor deficit was assessed through evaluation of two parameters: angle of rotation of the hind paw and inter limb coordination. The level of impairment of both parameters depended on the strength of the injuring force. BBB scale allows for assessment of the stepping ability of the animal as well as general coordination and stability of the body. The results we obtained showed that deficits observed in all experimental groups depended on the applied injuring force. Imaging and morphological examination revealed limited injury of white matter, mostly in the form of cysts and microcysts. We analyzed the whole length of the injured region and the area of cyst and scar. The size of the lesions correlated with the force of air impact.

Conclusions: The data obtained proved that the pressure impactor enables production of spinal cord injury mimicking moderate spinal cord trauma in humans.