Publications by authors named "Kitty So"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Proteomic Portraits Reveal Evolutionarily Conserved and Divergent Responses to Spinal Cord Injury.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2021 Jun 12;20:100096. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Division of Neurosurgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Despite the emergence of promising therapeutic approaches in preclinical studies, the failure of large-scale clinical trials leaves clinicians without effective treatments for acute spinal cord injury (SCI). These trials are hindered by their reliance on detailed neurological examinations to establish outcomes, which inflate the time and resources required for completion. Moreover, therapeutic development takes place in animal models whose relevance to human injury remains unclear. Here, we address these challenges through targeted proteomic analyses of cerebrospinal fluid and serum samples from 111 patients with acute SCI and, in parallel, a large animal (porcine) model of SCI. We develop protein biomarkers of injury severity and recovery, including a prognostic model of neurological improvement at 6 months with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.91, and validate these in an independent cohort. Through cross-species proteomic analyses, we dissect evolutionarily conserved and divergent aspects of the SCI response and establish the cerebrospinal fluid abundance of glial fibrillary acidic protein as a biochemical outcome measure in both humans and pigs. Our work opens up new avenues to catalyze translation by facilitating the evaluation of novel SCI therapies, while also providing a resource from which to direct future preclinical efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mcpro.2021.100096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8260874PMC
June 2021

Duraplasty in Traumatic Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury: Impact on Spinal Cord Hemodynamics, Tissue Metabolism, Histology, and Behavioral Recovery Using a Porcine Model.

J Neurotrauma 2021 Jun 18. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

After acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), the spinal cord can swell to fill the subarachnoid space and become compressed by the surrounding dura. In a porcine model of SCI, we performed a duraplasty to expand the subarachnoid space around the injured spinal cord and evaluated how this influenced acute intraparenchymal hemodynamic and metabolic responses, in addition to histological and behavioral recovery. Female Yucatan pigs underwent a T10 SCI, with or without duraplasty. Using microsensors implanted into the spinal cord parenchyma, changes in blood flow (ΔSCBF), oxygenation (ΔPO), and spinal cord pressure (ΔSCP) during and after SCI were monitored, alongside metabolic responses. Behavioral recovery was tested weekly using the Porcine Injury Behavior Scale (PTIBS). Thereafter, spinal cords were harvested for tissue sparing analyses. In both duraplasty and non-animals, the ΔSCP increased ∼5 mm Hg in the first 6 h post-injury. After this, the SCP appeared to be slightly reduced in the duraplasty animals, although the group differences were not statistically significant after controlling for injury severity in terms of impact force. During the first seven days post-SCI, the ΔSCBF or ΔPO values were not different between the duraplasty and control animals. Over 12 weeks, there was no improvement in hindlimb locomotion as assessed by PTIBS scores and no reduction in tissue damage at the injury site in the duraplasty animals. In our porcine model of SCI, duraplasty did not provide any clear evidence of long-term behavioral or tissue sparing benefit after SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2021.0084DOI Listing
June 2021

Characterization of Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction after Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury in Yucatan Minipigs.

J Neurotrauma 2021 May 2;38(9):1306-1326. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Departments of Department of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

There is an increasing need to develop approaches that will not only improve the clinical management of neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction (NLUTD) after spinal cord injury (SCI), but also advance therapeutic interventions aimed at recovering bladder function. Although pre-clinical research frequently employs rodent SCI models, large animals such as the pig may play an important translational role in facilitating the development of devices or treatments. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop a urodynamics protocol to characterize NLUTD in a porcine model of SCI. An iterative process to develop the protocol to perform urodynamics in female Yucatan minipigs began with a group of spinally intact, anesthetized pigs. Subsequently, urodynamic studies were performed in a group of awake, lightly restrained pigs, before and after a contusion-compression SCI at the T2 or T9-T11 spinal cord level. Bladder tissue was obtained for histological analysis at the end of the study. All anesthetized pigs had bladders that were acontractile, which resulted in overflow incontinence once capacity was reached. Uninjured, conscious pigs demonstrated appropriate relaxation and contraction of the external urethral sphincter during the voiding phase. SCI pigs demonstrated neurogenic detrusor overactivity and a significantly elevated post-void residual volume. Relative to the control, SCI bladders were heavier and thicker. The developed urodynamics protocol allows for repetitive evaluation of lower urinary tract function in pigs at different time points post-SCI. This technique manifests the potential for using the pig as an intermediary, large animal model for translational studies in NLUTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.7404DOI Listing
May 2021

Cardio-centric hemodynamic management improves spinal cord oxygenation and mitigates hemorrhage in acute spinal cord injury.

Nat Commun 2020 10 15;11(1):5209. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Chronic high-thoracic and cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) results in a complex phenotype of cardiovascular consequences, including impaired left ventricular (LV) contractility. Here, we aim to determine whether such dysfunction manifests immediately post-injury, and if so, whether correcting impaired contractility can improve spinal cord oxygenation (SCO), blood flow (SCBF) and metabolism. Using a porcine model of T2 SCI, we assess LV end-systolic elastance (contractility) via invasive pressure-volume catheterization, monitor intraparenchymal SCO and SCBF with fiberoptic oxygen sensors and laser-Doppler flowmetry, respectively, and quantify spinal cord metabolites with microdialysis. We demonstrate that high-thoracic SCI acutely impairs cardiac contractility and substantially reduces SCO and SCBF within the first hours post-injury. Utilizing the same model, we next show that augmenting LV contractility with the β-agonist dobutamine increases SCO and SCBF more effectively than vasopressor therapy, whilst also mitigating increased anaerobic metabolism and hemorrhage in the injured cord. Finally, in pigs with T2 SCI survived for 12 weeks post-injury, we confirm that acute hemodynamic management with dobutamine appears to preserve cardiac function and improve hemodynamic outcomes in the chronic setting. Our data support that cardio-centric hemodynamic management represents an advantageous alternative to the current clinical standard of vasopressor therapy for acute traumatic SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18905-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7562705PMC
October 2020

Continuous Optical Monitoring of Spinal Cord Oxygenation and Hemodynamics during the First Seven Days Post-Injury in a Porcine Model of Acute Spinal Cord Injury.

J Neurotrauma 2020 11 17;37(21):2292-2301. Epub 2020 Aug 17.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

One of the only currently available treatment options to potentially improve neurological recovery after acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is augmentation of mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) to promote blood flow and oxygen delivery to the injured cord. However, to optimize such hemodynamic management, clinicians require a method to monitor the physiological effects of these MAP alterations within the injured cord. Therefore, we investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of using a novel optical sensor, based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), to monitor real-time spinal cord oxygenation and hemodynamics during the first 7 days post-injury in a porcine model of acute SCI. Six Yucatan miniature pigs underwent a T10 vertebral level contusion-compression injury. Spinal cord oxygenation and hemodynamics were continuously monitored by a minimally invasive custom-made NIRS sensor, and by invasive intraparenchymal (IP) probes to validate the NIRS measures. Episodes of MAP alteration and hypoxia were performed acutely after injury, and at 2 and 7 days post-injury to simulate the types of hemodynamic changes SCI patients experience after injury. The NIRS sensor demonstrated the ability to provide oxygenation and hemodynamic measurements over the 7-day post-SCI period. NIRS measures showed statistically significant correlations with each of the invasive IP measures and MAP changes during episodes of MAP alteration and hypoxia throughout the first week post-injury ( < 0.05). These results indicate that this novel NIRS system can monitor real-time changes in spinal cord oxygenation and hemodynamics over the first 7 days post-injury, and has the ability to detect local tissue changes that are reflective of systemic hemodynamic changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.7086DOI Listing
November 2020

Relationship between Early Vasopressor Administration and Spinal Cord Hemorrhage in a Porcine Model of Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.

J Neurotrauma 2020 08 8;37(15):1696-1707. Epub 2020 May 8.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, Department of Orthopedics, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Current practice guidelines for acute spinal cord injury (SCI) recommend augmenting mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) for the first 7 days post-injury. After SCI, the cord may be compressed by the bone/ligaments of the spinal column, limiting regional spinal cord blood flow. Following surgical decompression, blood flow may be restored, and can potentially promote a "reperfusion" injury. The effects of MAP augmentation on the injured cord during the compressed and decompressed conditions have not been previously characterized. Here, we used our porcine model of SCI to examine the impact of MAP augmentation on blood flow, oxygenation, hydrostatic pressure, metabolism, and intraparenchymal (IP) hemorrhage within the compressed and then subsequently decompressed spinal cord. Yucatan mini-pigs underwent a T10 contusion injury followed by 2 h of sustained compression. MAP augmentation of ∼20 mm Hg was achieved with norepinephrine (NE). Animals received MAP augmentation either during the period of cord compression (CP), after decompression (DCP), or during both periods (CP-DCP). Probes to monitor spinal cord blood flow (SCBF), oxygenation, pressure, and metabolic responses were inserted into the cord parenchyma adjacent to the injury site to measure these responses. The cord was harvested for histological evaluation. MAP augmentation increased SCBF and oxygenation in all groups. In the CP-DCP group, spinal cord pressure steadily increased and histological analysis showed significantly increased hemorrhage in the spinal cord at and near the injury site. MAP augmentation with vasopressors may improve blood flow and reduce ischemia in the injured cord but may also induce undesirable increases in IP pressure and hemorrhage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2019.6781DOI Listing
August 2020

A porcine model for studying the cardiovascular consequences of high-thoracic spinal cord injury.

J Physiol 2020 03 11;598(5):929-942. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Key Points: We have developed a novel porcine model of high-thoracic midline contusion spinal cord injury (SCI) at the T2 spinal level. We describe this model and the ensuing cardiovascular and neurohormonal responses, and demonstrate the model is efficacious for studying clinically relevant cardiovascular dysfunction post-SCI. We demonstrate that the high-thoracic SCI model, but not a low-thoracic SCI model, induces persistent hypotension along with a gradual reduction in plasma noradrenaline and increases in plasma aldosterone and angiotensin II. We additionally conducted a proof-of-concept long-term (12 weeks) survival study in animals with T2 contusion SCI demonstrating the potential utility of this model for not only acute experimentation but also long-term drug studies prior to translation to the clinic.

Abstract: Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the spinal cord injury (SCI) population, especially in those with high-thoracic or cervical SCI. With this in mind, we aimed to develop a large animal (porcine) model of high-thoracic (T2 level) contusion SCI and compare the haemodynamic and neurohormonal responses of this injury against a low-thoracic (T10 level) model. Ten Yorkshire pigs were randomly subjected to 20 cm weight drop contusion SCI at either the T2 or the T10 spinal level. Systolic blood pressure (SBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were continuously monitored until 4 h post-SCI. Plasma noradrenaline (NA), aldosterone and angiotensin II (ANGII) were measured pre-SCI and at 30, 60, 120 and 240 min post-SCI. Additionally, two Yucatan pigs were subjected to T2-SCI and survived up to 12 weeks post-injury to demonstrate the efficacy of this model for long-term survival studies. Immediately after T2-SCI, SBP, MAP and HR increased (P < 0.0001). Between decompression (5 min post-SCI) and 30 min post-decompression in T2-SCI, SBP and MAP were lower than pre-SCI (P < 0.038). At 3 and 4 h after T2-SCI, SBP remained lower than pre-SCI (P = 0.048). After T10-SCI, haemodynamic indices remained largely unaffected. Plasma NA was lower in T2- vs. T10-SCI post-SCI, whilst aldosterone and ANGII were higher. Both chronically injured pigs demonstrated a vast reduction in SBP at 12 weeks post-SCI. Our model of T2-SCI causes a rapid and sustained alteration in neurohormonal control and cardiovascular function, which does not occur in the T10 model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP278451DOI Listing
March 2020

Optical Assessment of Spinal Cord Tissue Oxygenation Using a Miniaturized Near Infrared Spectroscopy Sensor.

J Neurotrauma 2019 11 17;36(21):3034-3043. Epub 2019 Jun 17.

Department of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Despite advances in the treatment of acute spinal cord injury (SCI), measures to mitigate permanent neurological deficits in affected patients are limited. Immediate post-trauma hemodynamic management of patients, to maintain blood supply and improve oxygenation to the injured spinal cord, is currently one aspect of critical care which clinicians can utilize to improve neurological outcomes. However, without a way to monitor the response of spinal cord hemodynamics and oxygenation in real time, optimizing hemodynamic management is challenging and limited in scope. This study aims to investigate the feasibility and validity of using a miniaturized multi-wavelength near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) sensor for direct transdural monitoring of spinal cord oxygenation in an animal model of acute SCI. Nine Yorkshire pigs underwent a weight-drop T10 contusion-compression injury and received episodes of ventilatory hypoxia and alterations in mean arterial pressure (MAP). Spinal cord hemodynamics and oxygenation were monitored throughout by a non-invasive transdural NIRS sensor, as well as an invasive intraparenchymal sensor as a comparison. NIRS parameters of tissue oxygenation were highly correlated with intraparenchymal measures of tissue oxygenation. In particular, during periods of hypoxia and MAP alterations, changes of NIRS-derived spinal cord oxygenated hemoglobin and tissue oxygenation percentage corresponded well with the changes in spinal cord oxygen partial pressures measured by the intraparenchymal sensor. Our data confirm that during hypoxic episodes and as changes occur in the MAP, non-invasive NIRS can detect and measure real-time changes in spinal cord oxygenation with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2018.6208DOI Listing
November 2019

Differences in Morphometric Measures of the Uninjured Porcine Spinal Cord and Dural Sac Predict Histological and Behavioral Outcomes after Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.

J Neurotrauma 2019 11 23;36(21):3005-3017. Epub 2019 May 23.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Department of Orthopaedics, University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

One of the challenges associated with conducting experiments in animal models of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is inducing a consistent injury with minimal variability in the degree of tissue damage and resultant behavioral and biochemical outcomes. We evaluated how the variability in morphometry of the spinal cord and surrounding cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contributes to the variability in behavioral and histological outcomes in our porcine model of SCI. Using intraoperative ultrasound imaging, spinal cord morphometry was assessed in seven Yucatan minipigs undergoing a weight-drop T10 contusion-compression injury. Bivariate and multi-variate analysis and modeling were used to identify native morphometrical determinants of interanimal variability in histological and behavioral outcomes. The measured biomechanical impact parameters did not correlate with the histological measures or hindlimb locomotor behavior (Porcine Thoracic Injury Behavior Scale). In contrast, clear associations were revealed between CSF layer morphometry and the amount of white matter and tissue sparing. Specifically, the dorsoventral diameter of the dural sac and ventral CSF space were strong predictors of behavioral and histological outcome and together explained ≥95.0% of the variance in these parameters. In addition, a dorsoventral diameter of the spinal cord less than 5.331 mm was a strong contributing factor to poor behavioral recovery over 12 weeks. These results indicate that interanimal variability in cord morphometry provides a potential biological explanation for the observed heterogeneity in histological and behavioral outcomes. Such knowledge is helpful for appropriately balancing experimental groups, and/or varying impact parameters to match cord and CSF layer dimensions for future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2018.5930DOI Listing
November 2019

Review of the UBC Porcine Model of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.

J Korean Neurosurg Soc 2018 Sep 31;61(5):539-547. Epub 2018 Aug 31.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) research has recently focused on the use of rat and mouse models for in vivo SCI experiments. Such small rodent SCI models are invaluable for the field, and much has been discovered about the biologic and physiologic aspects of SCI from these models. It has been difficult, however, to reproduce the efficacy of treatments found to produce neurologic benefits in rodent SCI models when these treatments are tested in human clinical trials. A large animal model may have advantages for translational research where anatomical, physiological, or genetic similarities to humans may be more relevant for pre-clinically evaluating novel therapies. Here, we review the work carried out at the University of British Columbia (UBC) on a large animal model of SCI that utilizes Yucatan miniature pigs. The UBC porcine model of SCI may be a useful intermediary in the pre-clinical testing of novel pharmacological treatments, cell-based therapies, and the "bedside back to bench" translation of human clinical observations, which require preclinical testing in an applicable animal model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3340/jkns.2017.0276DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6129752PMC
September 2018

A Direct Comparison between Norepinephrine and Phenylephrine for Augmenting Spinal Cord Perfusion in a Porcine Model of Spinal Cord Injury.

J Neurotrauma 2018 06 28;35(12):1345-1357. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

1 International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, University of British Columbia (UBC) , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada .

Current clinical guidelines recommend elevating the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) to increase spinal cord perfusion in patients with acute spinal cord injury (SCI). This is typically achieved with vasopressors such as norepinephrine (NE) and phenylephrine (PE). These drugs differ in their pharmacological properties and potentially have different effects on spinal cord blood flow (SCBF), oxygenation (PO), and downstream metabolism after injury. Using a porcine model of thoracic SCI, we evaluated how these vasopressors influenced intraparenchymal SCBF, PO, hydrostatic pressure, and metabolism within the spinal cord adjacent to the injury site. Yorkshire pigs underwent a contusion/compression SCI at T10 and were randomized to receive either NE or PE for MAP elevation of 20 mm Hg, or no MAP augmentation. Prior to injury, a combined SCBF/PO sensor, a pressure sensor, and a microdialysis probe were inserted into the spinal cord adjacent to T10 at two locations: a "proximal" site and a "distal" site, 2 mm and 22 mm from the SCI, respectively. At the proximal site, NE and PE resulted in little improvement in SCBF during cord compression. Following decompression, NE resulted in increased SCBF and PO, whereas decreased levels were observed for PE. However, both NE and PE were associated with a gradual decrease in the lactate to pyruvate (L/P) ratio after decompression. PE was associated with greater hemorrhage through the injury site than that in control animals. Combined, our results suggest that NE promotes better restoration of blood flow and oxygenation than PE in the traumatically injured spinal cord, thus providing a physiological rationale for selecting NE over PE in the hemodynamic management of acute SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2017.5285DOI Listing
June 2018

Changes in Pressure, Hemodynamics, and Metabolism within the Spinal Cord during the First 7 Days after Injury Using a Porcine Model.

J Neurotrauma 2017 12 14;34(24):3336-3350. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

1 International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada .

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) triggers many perturbations within the injured cord, such as decreased perfusion, reduced tissue oxygenation, increased hydrostatic pressure, and disrupted bioenergetics. While much attention is directed to neuroprotective interventions that might alleviate these early pathophysiologic responses to traumatic injury, the temporo-spatial characteristics of these responses within the injured cord are not well documented. In this study, we utilized our Yucatan mini-pig model of traumatic SCI to characterize intraparenchymal hemodynamic and metabolic changes within the spinal cord for 1 week post-injury. Animals were subjected to a contusion/compression SCI at T10. Prior to injury, probes for microdialysis and the measurement of spinal cord blood flow (SCBF), oxygenation (in partial pressure of oxygen; PaPO), and hydrostatic pressure were inserted into the spinal cord 0.2 and 2.2 cm from the injury site. Measurements occurred under anesthesia for 4 h post-injury, after which the animals were recovered and measurements continued for 7 days. Close to the lesion (0.2 cm), SCBF levels decreased immediately after SCI, followed by an increase in the subsequent days. Similarly, PaPO plummeted, where levels remained diminished for up to 7 days post-injury. Lactate/pyruvate (L/P) ratio increased within minutes. Further away from the injury site (2.2 cm), L/P ratio also gradually increased. Hydrostatic pressure remained consistently elevated for days and negatively correlated with changes in SCBF. An imbalance between SCBF and tissue metabolism also was observed, resulting in metabolic stress and insufficient oxygen levels. Taken together, traumatic SCI resulted in an expanding area of ischemia/hypoxia, with ongoing physiological perturbations sustained out to 7 days post-injury. This suggests that our clinical practice of hemodynamically supporting patients out to 7 days post-injury may fail to address persistent ischemia within the injured cord. A detailed understanding of these pathophysiological mechanisms after SCI is essential to promote best practices for acute SCI patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2017.5034DOI Listing
December 2017

Serum MicroRNAs Reflect Injury Severity in a Large Animal Model of Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury.

Sci Rep 2017 05 3;7(1):1376. Epub 2017 May 3.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Therapeutic development for spinal cord injury is hindered by the difficulty in conducting clinical trials, which to date have relied solely on functional outcome measures for patient enrollment, stratification, and evaluation. Biological biomarkers that accurately classify injury severity and predict neurologic outcome would represent a paradigm shift in the way spinal cord injury clinical trials could be conducted. MicroRNAs have emerged as attractive biomarker candidates due to their stability in biological fluids, their phylogenetic similarities, and their tissue specificity. Here we characterized a porcine model of spinal cord injury using a combined behavioural, histological, and molecular approach. We performed next-generation sequencing on microRNAs in serum samples collected before injury and then at 1, 3, and 5 days post injury. We identified 58, 21, 9, and 7 altered miRNA after severe, moderate, and mild spinal cord injury, and SHAM surgery, respectively. These data were combined with behavioural and histological analysis. Overall miRNA expression at 1 and 3 days post injury strongly correlates with outcome measures at 12 weeks post injury. The data presented here indicate that serum miRNAs are promising candidates as biomarkers for the evaluation of injury severity for spinal cord injury or other forms of traumatic, acute, neurologic injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-01299-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5431108PMC
May 2017

Responses of the Acutely Injured Spinal Cord to Vibration that Simulates Transport in Helicopters or Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicles.

J Neurotrauma 2016 12 5;33(24):2217-2226. Epub 2016 Jul 5.

1 International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada .

In the military environment, injured soldiers undergoing medical evacuation via helicopter or mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle (MRAP) are subjected to vibration and shock inherent to the transport vehicle. We conducted the present study to assess the consequences of such vibration on the acutely injured spinal cord. We used a porcine model of spinal cord injury (SCI). After a T10 contusion-compression injury, animals were subjected to 1) no vibration (n = 7-8), 2) whole body vibration at frequencies and amplitudes simulating helicopter transport (n = 8), or 3) whole body vibration simulating ground transportation in an MRAP ambulance (n = 7). Hindlimb locomotor function (using Porcine Thoracic Injury Behavior Scale [PTIBS]), Eriochrome Cyanine histochemistry and biochemical analysis of inflammatory and neural damage markers were analyzed. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) expression levels for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were similar between the helicopter or MRAP group and the unvibrated controls. Spared white/gray matter tended to be lower in the MRAP-vibrated animals than in the unvibrated controls, especially rostral to the epicenter. However, spared white/gray matter in the helicopter-vibrated group appeared normal. Although there was a relationship between the extent of sparing and the extent of locomotor recovery, no significant differences were found in PTIBS scores between the groups. In summary, exposures to vibration in the context of ground (MRAP) or aeromedical (helicopter) transportation did not significantly impair functional outcome in our large animal model of SCI. However, MRAP vibration was associated with increased tissue damage around the injury site, warranting caution around exposure to vehicle vibration acutely after SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2016.4456DOI Listing
December 2016

Transatlantic ticket to work.

Nurs Stand 2014 Mar 26-Apr 1;28(30):64-5

While European Union (EU) trade agreement negotiations effectively make it easier for British nurses to obtain American or Canadian licences to practise, progress could be hindered by fragmented nursing regulations in North America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/ns2014.03.28.30.64.s50DOI Listing
June 2014

A preclinical assessment of d.l-govadine as a potential antipsychotic and cognitive enhancer.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2012 Nov 10;15(10):1441-55. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Tetrahydroprotoberberines (THPBs) are compounds derived from traditional Chinese medicine and increasing preclinical evidence suggests efficacy in treatment of a wide range of symptoms observed in schizophrenia. A receptor-binding profile of the THPB, d.l-govadine (d.l-Gov), reveals high affinity for dopamine and noradrenaline receptors, efficacy as a D2 receptor antagonist, brain penetrance in the 10-300 ng/g range, and thus motivated an assessment of the antipsychotic and pro-cognitive properties of this compound in the rat. Increased dopamine efflux in the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens, measured by microdialysis, is observed following subcutaneous injection of the drug. d.l-Gov inhibits both conditioned avoidance responding (CAR) and amphetamine-induced locomotion (AIL) at lower doses than clozapine (CAR ED50: d.l-Gov 0.72 vs. clozapine 7.70 mg/kg; AIL ED50: d.l-Gov 1.70 vs. clozapine 4.27 mg/kg). Catalepsy is not detectable at low biologically relevant doses, but is observed at higher doses. Consistent with previous reports, acute d-amphetamine disrupts latent inhibition (LI) while a novel finding of enhanced LI is observed in sensitized animals. Treatment with d.l-Gov prior to conditioned stimulus (CS) pre-exposure restores LI to levels observed in controls in both sensitized animals and those treated acutely with d-amphetamine. Finally, possible pro-cognitive properties of d.l-Gov are assessed with the spatial delayed win-shift task. Subcutaneous injection of 1.0 mg/kg d.l-Gov failed to affect errors at a 30-min delay, but decreased errors observed at a 12-h delay. Collectively, these data provide the first evidence that d.l-Gov may have antipsychotic properties in conjunction with pro-cognitive effects, lending further support to the hypothesis that THPBs are a class of compounds which merit serious consideration as novel treatments for schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S146114571100157XDOI Listing
November 2012

Block of voltage-gated calcium channels stimulates dopamine efflux in rat mesocorticolimbic system.

Neuropharmacology 2009 May-Jun;56(6-7):984-93. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

Neuromed Pharmaceuticals Inc., Suite 301-2389 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z3, Canada.

Dopamine (DA) efflux from terminals of the mesocorticolimbic system is linked to incentive motivation, drug dependency and schizophrenia. Strategies for modulating dopaminergic activity have focused on transmitter receptors or the DA transporter, not on DA release, largely due to lack of systemically available drugs acting at this level. Central synapses use two main calcium channels for excitation-secretion coupling, either P/Q-type, N-type, or both. Here we investigate changes in mesocorticolimbic DA efflux following administration of NP078585, a novel orally available calcium channel blocker exhibiting high affinity block of N- and T-types versus P/Q- and L-types. NP078585 was applied either intra peritoneally (i.p.; 2.5-10 mg/kg) or by reverse-dialysis (10-25 microM) into either the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) or the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc), and the changes in DA levels in both the VTA and NAc were monitored using microdialysis. We found that both systemic and central administration of NP078585, but not vehicle, enhanced DA efflux in the NAc but not the VTA. The enhancement of DA levels was replicated by local applications of omega-conotoxin GVIA (2.5 microM), a selective peptide N-type channel blocker, to either VTA or NAc, suggesting N-type mediation. Furthermore, application of the GABA(A)-selective antagonist bicuculline (50 microM) to the VTA enhanced DA efflux in both VTA and NAc, and occluded the NP078585-induced enhancement in the latter structure. We propose that the actions of NP078585 and omega-conotoxin largely reflect block of N-type channels in terminals of GABAergic interneurons, leading to reduced GABA release, disinhibition of DA neurons and enhanced DA release in the NAc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2009.02.001DOI Listing
July 2009
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