✓ Vascularity and blood-brain barrier (BBB) function within spinal cord were studied with fluorescent microscopy at 14 intervals following 300 gm-cm injuries to the thoracolumbar spinal cord in 32 dogs. Histochemical staining with formaldehyde brought out a yellow-green fluorescence of vascular origin that was unrelated to tracer dye. This fluorescence accumulated in perivascular sites and is possibly related to catecholamine elevation within damaged spinal cord. Intrinsic CNS mechanisms for catecholamine build-up (increased transport, increased synthesis, increased release) are reviewed as well as the pharmacological action of alpha methyl tyrosine. It is hypothesized that an intrinsic CNS source of norepinephrine build-up is unlikely and that elevation of circulating catecholamine levels following stress and trauma leads to the extravasation of this material across injured BBBs within contused spinal cord.
W. Michael Vise, David Yashon and William E. Hunt
David Yashon, W. Michael Vise, Richard C. Dewey and William E. Hunt
✓ The temperature of the spinal cord parenchyma during local hypothermia was recorded in 18 dogs with and without a 300 to 500 gm-cm spinal cord injury. Other variables included opening the dura, location of the inflow stream, and the use of alcohol bath cooling. In nontraumatized cord, the temperature varied between 5.4° and 23.5°C depending on the location of the inflow stream; the variable range of 10–15 minutes of perfusion to reach these levels was unexpected. Temperatures of the injured cord fell to those of the reservoir (1.0° to 3.8°C) within 2½ minutes. The fact that the temperature of nontraumatized areas two segments cephalad to the injury was also reduced showed the capacity of the cord for thermal conduction. Opening the dura or use of an alcohol bath had little effect on cord temperature. Lack of heat transport due to ischemia is postulated as the primary cause of the rapid reduction of temperature in the injured cord to that of the surrounding environment.
Report of two cases
Eric Zimmerman, John Grant, W. Michael Vise, David Yashon and William E. Hunt
✓ Two patients with bursting fractures of the atlas vertebra are presented. The use of a halo apparatus as an effective alternative to bedrest and cervical traction in these patients is discussed. Polytomography was helpful in establishing an accurate diagnosis.