The effect of a spinal cord hemisection on changes in nitric oxide synthase pools in the site of injury and in regions located far away from the injured site.
ABSTRACT 1. The present study was designed to examine the nitric oxide synthase activities (constitutive and inducible) in the site of injury in response to Th10-Th11 spinal cord hemisection and, to determine whether unilateral disconnection of the spinal cord influences the NOS pools on the contra- and ipsilateral sides in segments located far away from the epicentre of injury. 2. A radioassay detection was used to determine Ca(2+)-dependent and inducible nitric oxide synthase activities. Somal, axonal and neuropil neuronal nitric oxide synthase was assessed by immunocytochemical study. A quantitative assessment of neuronal nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity was made by an image analyser. The level of neuronal nitric oxide synthase protein was measured by the Western blot analysis. 3. Our data show the increase of inducible nitric oxide synthase activity and a decrease of Ca(2+)-dependent nitric oxide synthase activity in the injured site analysed 1 and 7 days after surgery. In segments remote from the epicentre of injury the inducible nitric oxide synthase activity was increased at both time points. Ca(2+)-dependent nitric oxide synthase activity had decreased in L5-S1 segments in a group of animals surviving for 7 days. A hemisection performed at thoracic level did not cause significant difference in the nitric oxide synthase activities and in the level of neuronal nitric oxide synthase protein between the contra- and ipsilateral sides in C6-Th1 and L5-S1 segments taken as a whole. Significant differences were observed, but only when the spinal cord was analysed segment by segment, and/or was divided into dorsal and ventral parts. The cell counts in the cervicothoracic (C7-Th1) and lumbosacral (L5-S1) enlargements revealed changes in neuronal nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity on the ipsilateral side of the injury. The densitometric area measurements confirmed the reduction of somal, neuropil and axonal neuronal nitric oxide synthase immunoreactive staining in the ventral part of rostrally oriented segments. 4. Our findings provide evidence that the changes in nitric oxide synthase pools are limited not only to impact zone, but spread outside the original lesion. The regional distribution of nitric oxide synthase activity and neuronal nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity, measured segment by segment shows that nitric oxide may play a significant role in the stepping cycle in the quadrupeds.
Article: Central pattern generator for locomotion: anatomical, physiological, and pathophysiological considerations.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This article provides a perspective on major innovations over the past century in research on the spinal cord and, specifically, on specialized spinal circuits involved in the control of rhythmic locomotor pattern generation and modulation. Pioneers such as Charles Sherrington and Thomas Graham Brown have conducted experiments in the early twentieth century that changed our views of the neural control of locomotion. Their seminal work supported subsequently by several decades of evidence has led to the conclusion that walking, flying, and swimming are largely controlled by a network of spinal neurons generally referred to as the central pattern generator (CPG) for locomotion. It has been subsequently demonstrated across all vertebrate species examined, from lampreys to humans, that this CPG is capable, under some conditions, to self-produce, even in absence of descending or peripheral inputs, basic rhythmic, and coordinated locomotor movements. Recent evidence suggests, in turn, that plasticity changes of some CPG elements may contribute to the development of specific pathophysiological conditions associated with impaired locomotion or spontaneous locomotor-like movements. This article constitutes a comprehensive review summarizing key findings on the CPG as well as on its potential role in Restless Leg Syndrome, Periodic Leg Movement, and Alternating Leg Muscle Activation. Special attention will be paid to the role of the CPG in a recently identified, and uniquely different neurological disorder, called the Uner Tan Syndrome.Frontiers in neurology. 01/2012; 3:183.