Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 19586
  Title Preliminary morphological evidence that vertebral hypomobility induces synaptic plasticity in the spinal cord
Journal J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 Jun;30(5):336-342
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Article
Abstract/Notes OBJECTIVE: A widely accepted theoretical model suggests that vertebral hypomobility can cause pain and abnormal spinal mechanics because of changes in sensory input from spinal and paraspinal tissues. The purpose of this pilot study was 3-fold: (1) to make a preliminary determination if chronic vertebral hypomobility at L4 through L6 in the rat would affect synaptic density and/or morphology in the superficial dorsal horn of the L2 spinal cord level, (2) to identify relevant outcome variables for future studies, and (3) to obtain preliminary data that would permit estimating an appropriate sample size for future studies.

METHODS: Using an established rat model, we fixed 3 contiguous lumbar segments (L4-L6) for 8 weeks with a specially engineered vertebral fixation device. Electron micrographs were obtained from 2 animals from the experimental (fixed) group and each of 3 control groups (no surgery, surgery but no devices implanted, and devices implanted but not fixed). Synapses were randomly selected using a stereological approach and were analyzed for symmetry, curvature, type of postsynaptic profile, and perforations. The synaptic density was also estimated.

RESULTS: There was increased synaptic density and percentage of positively curved synapses in the dorsal horn of experimental animals as compared with controls. Experimental animals had a lower percentage of axospinous synapses, with a concomitant increase in the percentage of synapses on dendritic shafts.

CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary data suggest for the first time that chronic vertebral hypomobility at L4 through L6 in the rat affects synaptic density and morphology in the superficial dorsal horn of the L2 spinal cord level. More definitive studies are warranted, and the biologic significance of these finding should be investigated.

This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; full text by subscription.

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