Stepping Out: New Methods for Evaluating Recovery of Function in Rodent Models After Spinal Cord Injury
On November 17 (2008), at the Washington Convention Center (Washington, DC, Unites States), Noldus hosted its 4th satellite symposium during the Society for Neuroscience conference, which was entitled “Stepping out: New methods for evaluating recovery of function in rodent models after spinal cord injury”.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in the disruption and loss of sensory and locomotor function below the level of the primary injury (including bowel, bladder, and sexual function), as well as the evolution of allodynia and autonomic dysreflexia. These features are replicated in animal models of spinal trauma, including contusion- and transection-induced SCI, which allows the opportunity to test hypothesis about the basic mechanisms both contributing to and limiting repair, regeneration, and remodeling of circuitry as well as recovery of function. Characterization of the deficits in function produced by SCI is an important component of investigating the pathophysiology of ascending sensory and descending motor circuitry. Additionally, multitude of mechanisms that play important roles in animal models of SCI have been identified, accordingly, accurate and sensitive detection of changes in the function of these pathways, is a valuable tool for proof-of principal testing of these mechanisms and potential strategies to promote neurorepair.
At the satellite symposium, renowned speakers explored recent findings with regards to the mechanisms of SCI injury and recovery that have emerged from established measurements of function after SCI, as well as new behavioral measures evolving to meet the need for accurate and sensitive detection of recovery of function after SCI. The speaker line-up was as follows:
- Jennifer Fleming (Research Fellow, Center for Critical Illness Research, Victoria Research Laboratories, London, Ontario): Evaluation of autonomic and sensory function in rodent models of spinal cord injury.
- Björn Zörner (Neuromorphology, Brain Research Institute, University and ETH Zurich): The Schnell Swim Test (SST) to measure motor function and recovery in spinal cord injured rats.
- Ronaldo Ichiyama (Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology, University of Leeds): Assessment of sensorimotor function after SCI: Kinematics and Electromyography.
- Michele Basso (Associate Director, School of Allied Medical Professions, Professor, The Ohio State University): Combining Open Field, Catwalk and kinematic analyses to quantify balance and locomotor recovery.
The satellite symposium attracted over 100 attendees and was praised for the quality of the talks. The symposium ended with a lively interactive plenary discussion, which was moderated by Dr. Aileen Anderson (Associate Professor, University of California Irvine, and Director of the Spinal cord Injury Reseach Core Facility of the Christopher and Dana Reeves Paralysis Foundation), about the topics addressed.