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Tsang-Wei Tu, Joong H. Kim, Feng Qin Yin, Lyn B. Jakeman and Sheng-Kwei Song The impact of myelination on axon sparing and locomotor function recovery in spinal cord injury assessed using diffusion tensor imaging NMR in Biomedicine 26

Article first published online: 18 JUN 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/nbm.2981

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The current study uses in vivo diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and end-point histology to investigate the role of myelin integrity in axonal sparing and locomotor function after contusion spinal cord injury in dysmyelinated shiverer mice and in their heterozygous littermates. The data suggest that the DTI markers reflect the structural changes in white matter tracts, and correlate with the recovery of neurological function. This study confirms that the myelin sheath is critical for a higher hind limb function in uninjured mice. However, when the locomotor function is limited by the damage to long fiber tracts at the chronic phase after mid-thoracic spinal cord injury, recovery is independent of the presence of residual myelin or the degree of radial diffusivity; instead, the degree of spared axons is critical, and is reflected by measures of axial diffusivity in DTI.

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