SRμCT reveals 3D microstructural alterations of the vascular and neuronal network in a rat model of chronic compressive thoracic spinal cord injury

Liyuan Jiang, Yong Cao, Zhen Liu, Shuangfei Ni, Jun Liu, Yoon Ha, Zixiang Luo, Chengjun Li, Shaohua Liu, Jingsong Li, Xianzhen Yin, Tianding Wu, Hongbin Lu, Jianzhong Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The complex pathology of chronic thoracic spinal cord compression involves vascular and neuroarchitectural repair processes that are still largely unknown. In this study, we used synchrotron radiation microtomography (SRμCT) to quantitatively characterize the 3D temporal-spatial changes in the vascular and neuronal network after chronic thoracic spinal cord compression in order to obtain further insights into the pathogenesis of this disease and to elucidate its underlying mechanisms. Direct 3D characterizationof the spinal cord microvasculature and neural microstructure of the thoracic spinal cord was successfully reconstructed. The significantreduction invasculature and degeneration of neurons in the thoracic spinal cordvisualizedvia SRμCT after chronic compression were consistent with the changes detected by immunofluorescence staining. The 3D morphological measurements revealed significantreductions of neurovascular parameters in the thoracic spinal cord after 1 month of compression and became even worse after 6 months without relief of compression. In addition, the distinct 3D morphological twist and the decrease in branches of the central sulcal artery after chronic compression vividly displayed that these could be the potential triggers leading to blood flow reduction and neural deficits of the thoracic spinal cord. Our findings propose a novel methodology for the 3D analysis of neurovascular repair in chronic spinal cord compression, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The results indicated that compression simultaneously caused vascular dysfunction and neuronal network impairment, which should be acknowledged as concurrent events after chronic thoracic spinal cord injury. Combining neuroprotection with vasoprotection may provide promising therapeutic targets for chronic thoracic spinal cord compression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-617
Number of pages15
JournalAging and Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2019 Jiang L et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cell Biology


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