Reconstruction of the spinal cord of spinal transected dogs with polyethylene glycol

Surg Neurol Int. 2019 Mar 26;10:50. doi: 10.25259/SNI-73-2019. eCollection 2019.


Background: Our study shows that a membrane sealant/fiber fusogen polyethylene glycol (PEG) applied immediately on a sharp section of the spinal cord can mend the cord and lead to exceptional levels of motor recovery, with some animals almost normal.

Materials and methods: Before deploying such technology in man, long-term data in large mammals that exclude delayed complications (e.g., central pain), confirm the stability of motor recovery, and provide histological evidence of fiber regrowth are necessary. Here, we provide such evidence in dogs followed up over 6 months and in 2 cases up to 1 year along with imaging and histologic data.

Results: We show that dogs whose dorsal cord has been fully transected recover locomotion after immediate treatment with a fusogen (PEG). No pain syndrome ensued over the long term. Diffusion tensor imaging magnetic resonance and histological, including immunohistochemical, data confirmed the re-establishment of anatomical continuity along with interfacial axonal sprouting.

Conclusions: This study proves that a form of irreversible spinal cord injury (SCI) can effectively be treated and points out a way to treat SCI patients.

Keywords: Polyethylene glycol; spinal cord fusion; spinal cord injury.