Measuring in vivo spinal cord injury and repair remains elusive. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) we examined brainstem N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) as a surrogate for spinal cord injury in two mouse strains with different reparative phenotypes following virus-induced demyelination. Swiss Jim Lambert (SJL) and Friend Virus B (FVB) mice progressively demyelinate with axonal loss. FVB mice demyelinate similarly but eventually remyelinate coincident with functional recovery. Brainstem NAA levels drop in both but recover in FVB mice. Chronically infected SJL mice lost 30.5% of spinal cord axons compared to FVB mice (7.3%). In remyelination-enhancing or axon-preserving clinical trials, brainstem MRS may be a viable endpoint to represent overall spinal cord dysfunction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology