Defense Date

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Anatomy & Neurobiology

First Advisor

Raymond Colello

Abstract

Injury to the spinal cord results in the disruption of signal transmission between the brain and distal targets. It often presents with the loss of motor function and sensory perception below the level of injury. There are many obstacles following injury that must be overcome in order to encourage axon regeneration and improve functional recovery. A combinatorial approach is necessary to combat physical and chemical barriers to recovery. The fluid filled cyst that forms in the majority of spinal cord injuries presents a physical barrier that we treat with our electrospun bridges. We implanted our bridges into female Long Evans Hooded rats following a complete transection. Using a molecular fusogen, polyethylene glycol, known to seal damaged membranes in conjunction with our bridges, we were able to increase functional recovery compared to animals treated with a bridge and saline. In Chapter 1, we introduce spinal cord anatomy, the pathological classifications, axon pathology, and our therapeutic strategy. Chapter 2 details the materials and methods. Chapter 3 examines previous uses of polyethylene glycol as a molecular fusogen, previous studies utilizing it in spinal cord injury, and our strategy of fusing damaged axons to improve functional recovery. Finally in Chapter 4, I discuss our behavioral results, compare histology, and detail the future of our research including protocol improvements and future combination therapies that include PEG to improve outcome.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2011

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