Contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging for assessment of spinal cord blood flow in experimental spinal cord injury

Arnaud Dubory, Elisabeth Laemmel, Anna Badner, Jacques Duranteau, Eric Vicaut, Charles Court, Marc Soubeyrand

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reduced spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) (i.e., ischemia) plays a key role in traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) pathophysiology and is accordingly an important target for neuroprotective therapies. Although several techniques have been described to assess SCBF, they all have significant limitations. To overcome the latter, we propose the use of real-time contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging (CEU). Here we describe the application of this technique in a rat contusion model of SCI. A jugular catheter is first implanted for the repeated injection of contrast agent, a sodium chloride solution of sulphur hexafluoride encapsulated microbubbles. The spine is then stabilized with a custom-made 3D-frame and the spinal cord dura mater is exposed by a laminectomy at ThIX-ThXII. The ultrasound probe is then positioned at the posterior aspect of the dura mater (coated with ultrasound gel). To assess baseline SCBF, a single intravenous injection (400 μl) of contrast agent is applied to record its passage through the intact spinal cord microvasculature. A weight-drop device is subsequently used to generate a reproducible experimental contusion model of SCI. Contrast agent is re-injected 15 min following the injury to assess post-SCI SCBF changes. CEU allows for real time and in-vivo assessment of SCBF changes following SCI. In the uninjured animal, ultrasound imaging showed uneven blood flow along the intact spinal cord. Furthermore, 15 min post-SCI, there was critical ischemia at the level of the epicenter while SCBF remained preserved in the more remote intact areas. In the regions adjacent to the epicenter (both rostral and caudal), SCBF was significantly reduced. This corresponds to the previously described “ischemic penumbra zone”. This tool is of major interest for assessing the effects of therapies aimed at limiting ischemia and the resulting tissue necrosis subsequent to SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52536
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Volume2015
Issue number99
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Contrast agent
  • Contrast enhanced ultrasound
  • Ischemia
  • Issue 99
  • Medicine
  • Rat
  • Sonovue
  • Spinal cord blood flow
  • Spinal cord injury

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