A decrease in spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) is a known sequela of spinal cord injury. The radioactive microsphere technique permits repeated measurement of spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) and cardiac output (CO) in the same experimental animal. The purpose of this study was to adapt the radioactive microsphere technique for use in the rat extradural clip compression injury model used in our laboratory.
Thirteen adult Wistar rats were anaesthetized and ventilated. Mean systemic arterial pressure (MSAP) was recorded continuously. Control animals (n = 8) did not have a surgical procedure whereas the injured animals (n = 5) underwent a C7-T1 laminectomy followed by a one minute, 50 gram extradural clip compression injury at Tl. Radioactive microspheres were used for two blood flow and CO determinations in both groups.
MSAPfell 59% in the injured animals (p<0.01), but this was not accompanied by significant changes in heart rate or CO. There was a 50% reduction in SCBF in the injured cord (p<0.02), and there were significant reductions in cerebral blood flow (p<0.05) and cerebellar blood flow (p<0.02) following spinal cord injury.