Development of a simplified spinal cord ischemia model in mice

Zhengfeng Wang, Wei Yang, Gavin W. Britz, Frederick W. Lombard, David S. Warner, Huaxin Sheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Use of genetically manipulated mice facilitates understanding pathological mechanisms in many diseases and contributes to therapy development. However, there is no practical and clinically relevant mouse model available for spinal cord ischemia. This report introduces a simplified long-term outcome mouse model of spinal cord ischemia. Male C57Bl/6J mice were anesthetized with isoflurane and endotracheally intubated. The middle segment of the thoracic aorta was clamped for 0, 8, 10 or 12. min via left lateral thoracotomy. Rectal temperature was maintained at 37.0 ± 0.5 °C. A laser Doppler probe was used to measure lumbar spinal cord blood flow during thoracic aorta cross-clamping. Open field locomotor function and rotarod performance were evaluated at 1. h and 1, 3, 5, and 7 days post-injury. Surviving neurons in the lumbar ventral horn were counted at 7 days post-injury. Cross-clamping the middle segment of the thoracic aorta resulted in approximately 90% blood flow reduction in the lumbar spinal cord. Neurological deficit and neuronal cell death were associated with ischemia duration. Another set of mice were subjected to 10. min aortic clamping or sham surgery and neurological function was examined at 1. h and 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, and 28 days. Four of 5 mice (80%) in the injured group survived 28 days and had significant neurological deficit. This study indicates that cross-clamping of the aorta via left thoracotomy is a simple and reliable method to induce spinal cord ischemia in mice allowing definition of long-term outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-251
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Mouse model
  • Spinal cord ischemia
  • Thoracoabdominal aneurysm
  • Thoracotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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