Background: A complete neurological exam contributes in establishing spinal cord injury severity and its extent by identifying the damage to the sensory and motor pathways involved in order to address a more case-specific and precise pharmacological therapy. However, assessment of neurologic function in spinal cord injury models is usually reported by using sensory or motor tests independently.
Methods: A reliable integral method is needed to precisely evaluate location and severity of the injury at baseline and, in further assessments, to establish the degree of spontaneous recovery. A combination of sensation-based tests and motor-based tests was used to evaluate impaired neurologic function after spinal cord injury and the degree of spontaneous recovery, in different stages, on an in vivo model.
Results: Combined neurologic evaluation was useful to establish location and severity of the injury in all animals and also to detect degrees of spontaneous recovery at different stages after the injury. Comparisons of neurological function were assessed in time-days and groups between BBB motor score, latency maintenance of posture, locomotion and latency presentation of grooming before and after the injury. Our results suggest that a combined assessment strategy, including sensory and motor tests, can lead to better evaluation of spinal cord injury severity and location, and documentation of the extent of spontaneous recovery following SCI and identify specific motor and sensory pathway integrity.
Conclusion: In conclusion, a combined assessment strategy provides a concise method for evaluating the impact of interventions in experimental models of SCI.