• A preclinical study of spinal cord injury focused on cellular and molecular modifications as potential targets for innovative therapies
  • Bighinati, Andrea <1988>


  • VET/01 Anatomia degli animali domestici


  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a devastating condition for human and animal health. In SCI particularly, neurons, oligodendrocytes precursor cells, and mature oligodendrocytes are highly vulnerable to the toxic microenvironment after the lesion and susceptible to the elevated levels of noxious stimuli. Thus the regenerative response of the organism in case of SCI is significantly reduced, and only little spontaneous amelioration is observed in lesioned patients during the early phases. This work mainly focuses on studying and characterizing the modification induced by the SCI in a preclinical animal model. We investigated the ECM composition in the spinal cord segments surrounding the primary lesion site at a gene expression level. We found Timp1 and CD44 as a crucial hub in the secondary cascade of SCI in both spinal cord segments surrounding the lesion site. Interestingly, a temporal and anatomical difference in gene expression, indicating a complex regulation of ECM genes after SCI that could be used as a tool for regenerative medicine. We also investigated the modification in synaptic plasticity-related gene expression in spinal and supraspinal areas involved in motor control. We confirmed the anatomical and temporal difference in gene expression in spinal cord tissue. This analysis suggests that a molecular mapping of the lesion-induced modification could be a useful tool for regenerative medicine. In the last part, we evaluated the efficacy of an implantable biopolymer loaded with an anti-inflammatory drug and a pro-myelinating agent on the acute phase of SCI in our preclinical model. We found a consistent reduction of the inflammatory state in the spinal lesion site and the cord's surrounding segments. Moreover, we found increased preservation of the spinal cord tissue with a related upregulation of neuronal and oligodendroglial markers after lesion. Our treatment showed effective ameliorating functional outcome and reducing the lesion extension in the chronic phase.


  • 2021-05-19


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Bighinati, Andrea (2021) A preclinical study of spinal cord injury focused on cellular and molecular modifications as potential targets for innovative therapies, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze veterinarie , 33 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9683.