A laser-guided spinal cord displacement injury in adult mice

Xiangbing Wu, Wenrui Qu, Adewale A. Bakare, Yi Ping Zhang, Collin M.E. Fry, Lisa B.E. Shields, Christopher B. Shields, Xiao Ming Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Mouse models are unique for studying molecular mechanisms of neurotrauma because of the availability of various genetic modified mouse lines. For spinal cord injury (SCI) research, producing an accurate injury is essential, but it is challenging because of the small size of the mouse cord and the inconsistency of injury production. The Louisville Injury System Apparatus (LISA) impactor has been shown to produce precise contusive SCI in adult rats. Here, we examined whether the LISA impactor could be used to create accurate and graded contusive SCIs in mice. Adult C57BL/6 mice received a T10 laminectomy followed by 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8 mm displacement injuries, guided by a laser, from the dorsal surface of the spinal cord using the LISA impactor. Basso Mouse Scale (BMS), grid-walking, TreadScan, and Hargreaves analyses were performed for up to 6 weeks post-injury. All mice were euthanized at the 7th week, and the spinal cords were collected for histological analysis. Our results showed that the LISA impactor produced accurate and consistent contusive SCIs corresponding to mild, moderate, and severe injuries to the cord. The degree of injury severities could be readily determined by the BMS locomotor, grid-walking, and TreadScan gait assessments. The cutaneous hyperalgesia threshold was also significantly increased as the injury severity increased. The terminal lesion area and the spared white matter of the injury epicenter were strongly correlated with the injury severities. We conclude that the LISA device, guided by a laser, can produce reliable graded contusive SCIs in mice, resulting in severity-dependent behavioral and histopathological deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-468
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • SCI
  • behavioral test
  • contusion
  • mouse
  • tissue displacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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  • Cite this

    Wu, X., Qu, W., Bakare, A. A., Zhang, Y. P., Fry, C. M. E., Shields, L. B. E., Shields, C. B., & Xu, X. M. (2019). A laser-guided spinal cord displacement injury in adult mice. Journal of neurotrauma, 36(3), 460-468. https://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2018.5756