Abstract

Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a relatively novel form of exercise used to improve neuromuscular performance in healthy individuals. Its usefulness as a therapy for patients with neurological disorders, in particular spinal cord injury (SCI), has received little attention in clinical settings and, surprisingly, even less in animal SCI models. We performed severe compression SCI at a low-thoracic level in Wistar rats followed by daily WBV starting 7 (10 rats) or 14 (10 rats) days after injury (WBV7 and WBV14, respectively) and continued over a 12-week post-injury period. Rats with SCI but no WBV training (sham, 10 rats) and intact animals (10 rats) served as controls. Compared to sham-treated rats, WBV did not improve BBB score, plantar stepping, or ladder stepping during the 12-week period. Accordingly, WBV did not significantly alter plantar H-reflex, lesion volume, serotonergic input to the lumbar spinal cord, nor cholinergic or glutamatergic inputs to lumbar motoneurons at 12 weeks after SCI. However, compared to sham, WBV14, but not WBV7, significantly improved body weight support (rump-height index) during overground locomotion and overall recovery between 6–12 weeks and also restored the density of synaptic terminals in the lumbar spinal cord at 12 weeks. Most remarkably, WBV14 led to a significant improvement of bladder function at 6–12 weeks after injury. These findings provide the first evidence for functional benefits of WBV in an animal SCI model and warrant further preclinical investigations to determine mechanisms underpinning this noninvasive, inexpensive, and easily delivered potential rehabilitation therapy for SCI.

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cover image Journal of Neurotrauma
Journal of Neurotrauma
Volume 30Issue Number 6March 15, 2013
Pages: 453 - 468
PubMed: 23157611

History

Published online: 16 April 2013
Published ahead of print: 3 April 2013
Published in print: March 15, 2013
Published ahead of production: 16 November 2012

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Felicitas Wirth
*
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Greta Schempf*
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Gregor Stein*
Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Katharina Wellmann
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Marilena Manthou
Department of Histology and Embryology, Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Carolin Scholl
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Malina Sidorenko
Department of Anatomy, Medical Faculty, University of Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Oliver Semler
Department of Children's Hospital, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Leonie Eisel
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Rachida Harrach
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Srebrina Angelova
Jean-Uhrmacher Institute for ENT-Research, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Patrick Jaminet
Department of Hand, Plastic, and Reconstructive Surgery with Burn Unit, BG- Trauma Centre, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany.
Janina Ankerne
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Mahak Ashrafi
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Ozlem Ozsoy
Department of Physiology, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey.
Umut Ozsoy
Department of Physiology Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey.
Harald Schubert
Novotec Medical GmbH, Pforzheim, Germany.
Diana Abdulla
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Sarah A. Dunlop
Experimental and Regenerative Neuroscience, School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.
Doychin N. Angelov
**
Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.
Andrey Irintchev**
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany.
Eckhard Schönau**
Department of Children's Hospital, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Doychin N. Angelov, MD, PhDInstitut 1 für Anatomie der Universität zu KölnJoseph-Stelzmann-Strasse 9D-50924 KölnGermany
E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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