Vasogenic edema induced by compression injury to the spinal nerve root. Distribution of intravenously injected protein tracers and gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1993 Sep 1;18(11):1410-24.


The function of the blood-nerve barrier appears quite unique in the nerve root. Protein tracers that were injected into the subarachnoid space passed through the nerve root sheath and entered into the capillary lumen in the endoneurial space but tracers that were injected intravenously did not appear in the endoneurial space. Marked extravasation of protein tracers in the nerve root was induced at the compressed part by strong compression (60 gram force, 30 gram force) and capillaries in the nerve root showed opening of the tight junction accompanied by an increase in vesicular transport under the electron microscope. This situation was reflected as high intensity on Gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. In twenty-one of fifty patients with lumbar disc herniation, the affected nerve root was strongly enhanced by Gadolinium-diethylene-triaminepentaacetic acid, indicating that the blood-nerve barrier in the affected nerve root was broken and intraradicular edema was produced in these cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Awards and Prizes
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology
  • Contrast Media
  • Dogs
  • Edema / etiology*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnosis
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / pathology*
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / injuries*


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Gadolinium DTPA