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The effects of intrathecal injection of a hyaluronan-based hydrogel on inflammation, scarring and neurobehavioural outcomes in a rat model of severe spinal cord injury associated with arachnoiditis. Biomaterials 2012 Jun;33(18):4555-64



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84862819061   73 Citations


Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) comprises a heterogeneous condition caused by a complex array of mechanical forces that damage the spinal cord - making each case somewhat unique. In addition to parenchymal injury, a subset of patients experience severe inflammation in the subarachnoid space or arachnoiditis, which can lead to the development of fluid-filled cavities/syringes, a condition called post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS). Currently, there are no therapeutic means to address this devastating complication in patients and furthermore once PTS is diagnosed, treatment is often prone to failure. We hypothesized that reducing subarachnoid inflammation using a novel bioengineered strategy would improve outcome in a rodent model of PTS. A hydrogel of hyaluronan and methyl cellulose (HAMC) was injected into the subarachnoid space 24 h post PTS injury in rats. Intrathecal injection of HAMC reduced the extent of fibrosis and inflammation in the subarachnoid space. Furthermore, HAMC promoted improved neurobehavioural recovery, enhanced axonal conduction and reduced the extent of the lesion as assessed by MRI and histomorphometric assessment. These findings were additionally associated with a reduction in the post-traumatic parenchymal fibrous scar formation as evidenced by reduced CSPG deposition and reduced IL-1α cytokine levels. Our data suggest that HAMC is capable of modulating inflammation and scarring events, leading to improved functional recovery following severe SCI associated with arachnoiditis.

Author List

Austin JW, Kang CE, Baumann MD, DiDiodato L, Satkunendrarajah K, Wilson JR, Stanisz GJ, Shoichet MS, Fehlings MG


Kajana Satkunendrarajah PhD Assistant Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
Hyaluronic Acid
Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
Injections, Spinal
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Rats, Wistar
Spinal Cord Injuries