Review Article

Korean J Pain 2019; 32(1): 12-21

Published online January 28, 2019 https://doi.org/10.3344/kjp.2019.32.1.12

Copyright © The Korean Pain Society.

Animals models of spinal cord contusion injury

Renuka Verma, Jasleen Kaur Virdi, Nirmal Singh, and Amteshwar Singh Jaggi*

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Research, Punjabi University Patiala, Patiala, India.

Correspondence to: Amteshwar Singh Jaggi. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Research, Punjabi University Patiala, Patiala 147002, India. Tel: +91-0175-3046254, Fax: +91-0175-2283073, amteshwarjaggi@yahoo.co.in

Received: July 3, 2018; Revised: November 30, 2018; Accepted: December 1, 2018


Spinal cord contusion injury is one of the most serious nervous system disorders, characterized by high morbidity and disability. To mimic spinal cord contusion in humans, various animal models of spinal contusion injury have been developed. These models have been developed in rats, mice, and monkeys. However, most of these models are developed using rats. Two types of animal models, i.e. bilateral contusion injury and unilateral contusion injury models, are developed using either a weight drop method or impactor method. In the weight drop method, a specific weight or a rod, having a specific weight and diameter, is dropped from a specific height on to the exposed spinal cord. Low intensity injury is produced by dropping a 5 g weight from a height of 8 cm, moderate injury by dropping 10 g weight from a height of 12.5–25 mm, and high intensity injury by dropping a 25 g weight from a height of 50 mm. In the impactor method, injury is produced through an impactor by delivering a specific force to the exposed spinal cord area. Mild injury is produced by delivering 100 ± 5 kdyn of force, moderate injury by delivering 200 ± 10 kdyn of force, and severe injury by delivering 300 ± 10 kdyn of force. The contusion injury produces a significant development of locomotor dysfunction, which is generally evident from the 0–14th day of surgery and is at its peak after the 28–56th day. The present review discusses different animal models of spinal contusion injury.

Keywords: Animal model, Body weight, Cervical vertebrae, Contusion, Locomotion, Nervous system diseases, Rats, Spinal cord injury