Development and characterization of a novel, graded model of clip compressive spinal cord injury in the mouse: Part 1. Clip design, behavioral outcomes, and histopathology

J Neurotrauma. 2002 Feb;19(2):175-90. doi: 10.1089/08977150252806947.


In order to take advantage of various genetically manipulated mice available to study the pathophysiology of spinal cord injury (SCI), we adapted an extradural clip compression injury model to the mouse (FEJOTA mouse clip). The dimensions of the modified aneurysm clip blades were customized for application to the mouse spinal cord. Three clips with different springs were made to produce differing magnitudes of closing force (3, 8, and 24 g). The clips were calibrated regularly to ensure that the closing force remained constant. The surgical procedure involved a laminectomy at T3 and T4, followed by extradural application of the clip at this level for 1 min to produce SCI. Three injury severities (3, 8, and 24 g), sham (passage of dissector extradurally at T3-4), and transection control groups were examined (n = 12/group). Quantitative behavioural assessments using the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB; H > 46; df = 4; p < 0.001; Kruskal-Wallis one-way ANOVA) and inclined plane (IP; F = 123; df = 4; p < 0.0001; two-way repeated measures ANOVA) tests showed a significant graded increase in neurological deficits with increasing severity of injury. By day 14, the motor recovery of the mice plateaued. Qualitative examination of the injury site morphology indicated that microcystic cavitation, degenerating axons, and robust astrogliosis were characteristic of the murine response to clip compressive SCI. Morphometric analyses of H&E/Luxol Fast Blue stained sections at every 50 microm from the injury epicenter indicated that with greater injury severity there was a progressive decrease in residual tissue (F = 220, df = 3; p < 0.0001; two-way ANOVA). In addition, statistically significant differences were found in the amount of residual tissue at the injury epicenter between all of the injury severities (p < 0.05, SNK test). This novel, graded compressive model of SCI will facilitate future studies of the pathological mechanisms of SCI using transgenic and knockout murine systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Outbred Strains
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Mice*
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Recovery of Function
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / mortality
  • Spinal Cord Compression / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / physiopathology*
  • Surgical Instruments*