The distal end of the spinal cord and neuromuscular junction may develop secondary degenera-tion and damage following spinal cord injury because of the loss of neural connections. The effect of basic fibroblast growth factor on motor neurons in the anterior horn of the injured spinal cord, and on the number of neuromuscular junctions in target organs, remains elusive. Jianlong Wang and team from Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University established a rat model of spinal cord injury using a modified Allen's method, which was injected with basic fibroblast growth factor solution via the subarachnoid catheter.
The researchers found after injection, rats with spinal cord injury displayed well-recovered motor function, spinal glial scar hyperplasia was not apparent, and anterior tibial muscle fibers slowly, but progressively, atrophied, indicating the distal motor neurons and motor endplate degenerated. These findings, published in the Neural Regeneration Research
(Vol. 8, No. 24, 2013), indicate that basic fibroblast growth factor can protect the endplate through attenuating the decreased expression of calcitonin gene related peptide and acetylcholinesterase in anterior horn motor neurons of the injured spinal cord.