Membrane leakage in spinal ganglion nerve cells induced by experimental whiplash extension motion: a study in pigs
Journal article, 1996
Nerve cells in the cervical and upper thoracic spinal ganglia were examined for possible plasma membrane leakage, as revealed by their ability to exclude a dye-protein complex, after experimentally induced whiplash in a pig model system. The rationale for this approach is found in the fact that the interstitium of spinal ganglia differs from most other parts of the nervous system in that it lacks a barrier, allowing blood constituents to gain access. The dye Evans blue, which rapidly conjugates with blood proteins, is found in the interstitium of normal spinal ganglia after intravenous injection, but it is excluded from the nerve cells and their enveloping satellite cells. In contrast, after a simulated whiplash extension trauma many of the nerve cells were stained, reflecting the inability of their plasma membranes to exclude the dye-protein complex. Morphometric measurements revealed that the highest frequency of cellular dye uptake was observed in the C4-C7 spinal ganglia (mean 16 - 18%; range 5-27%). The blood-nerve barrier of the adjacent nerve fascicles remained intact, with rare exception. Several factors are considered to contribute to the induction of these cell abnormalities in the spinal ganglia after an experimentally induced, simulated whiplash trauma in this pig model system.