Selective motor neuron death and heat shock protein induction after spinal cord ischemia in rabbits

M. Sakurai, M. Aoki, K. Abe, M. Sadahiro, K. Tabayashi

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Paraplegia is a serious complication that sometimes results from operation on the thoracic aorta. The mechanism of spinal cord injury has been thought to involve tissue ischemia, and spinal motor neurons are suggested to be vulnerable to ischemia. The exact mechanism, however, is not fully understood. To evaluate the mechanism of such vulnerability of motor neurons, we attempted to make a reproducible model for spinal cord ischemia and statistically analyzed cell damage. With this model, induction of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and heat shock cognate protein (HSC70) messenger ribonucleic acid molecules were investigated with Northern blot analysis for up to 7 days of reperfusion after 5 or 15 minutes of ischemia. Immunohistochemical studies of their proteins were also done, (heat shock proteins are a set of markers of neuronal injury after ischemia.) After 5 minutes of ischemia, there was no induction of HSP70 and HSC70 messenger ribonucleic acid molecules or their proteins, and all cells remained intact. In contrast, after 15 minutes of ischemia, HSP70 messenger ribonucleic acid was induced at 8 hours of reperfusion, and HSC70 messenger ribonucleic acid was expressed continuously at the control level. Immunoreactivity of HSP70 protein was slightly induced at 8 hours of reperfusion selectively in motor neurons, and about 70% of motor neuron cells showed selective cell death after 7 days of reperfusion. This study demonstrated induction of HSP70 messenger ribonucleic acid and its protein in motor neuron cells after transient ischemia in the spinal cord. This phenomenon was not accompanied by HSC70 induction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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