Catecholamine assays in a rat model for autonomic dysreflexia

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1998 Apr;79(4):402-4. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(98)90140-x.


Objective: To determine if norepinephrine (NE) levels increased during autonomic dysreflexia (AD) hypertension in spinal cord injured rats.

Design: Prospective, randomized study of three groups of eight rats that underwent C8 spinal cord transection. Two days postoperatively, catecholamine samples were collected from the animals as follows: group 1 without preoperative chemical sympathectomy using 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OH DA) or induced AD; group 2 with induced AD; and group 3, preoperative chemical sympathectomy with 6-OH DA and induced AD.

Setting: Basic science research laboratory in an academic institution.

Participants: Sprague-Dawley male rats weighing 300g.

Intervention: Three episodes of induced AD hypertension with bowel distension for 1 minute.

Results: Results showed a significant difference between groups 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 1 and 3 (p=.0002, ANOVA, Y1/2, post hoc Tukey). The mean NE levels in groups 1, 2, and 3 were 465+/-400 ng/mL, 1,328+/-1,116 ng/mL, and 31+/-61 ng/mL, respectively.

Conclusion: NE increased during AD in the spinal cord injured rat. NE levels were effectively blocked by 6-OH DA when AD was induced. Knowledge of catecholamine levels in this process may assist in determining both pathophysiology and potential pharmacologic treatment options in future human studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / blood*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reflex, Abnormal*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / blood*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Sympathectomy, Chemical


  • Norepinephrine