Methods for functional assessment after C7 spinal cord hemisection in the rhesus monkey

Yvette S. Nout, Adam R. Ferguson, Sarah C. Strand, Rod Moseanko, Stephanie Hawbecker, Sharon Zdunowski, Jessica L. Nielson, Roland R. Roy, Hui Zhong, Ephron S. Rosenzweig, John H. Brock, Grégoire Courtine, V. Reggie Edgerton, Mark H. Tuszynski, Michael S. Beattie, Jacqueline C. Bresnahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background. Reliable outcome measures are essential for preclinical modeling of spinal cord injury (SCI) in primates. Measures need to be sensitive to both increases and decreases in function in order to demonstrate potential positive or negative effects of therapeutics. Objectives. To develop behavioral tests and analyses to assess recovery of function after SCI in the nonhuman primate. Methods. In all, 24 male rhesus macaques were subjected to complete C7 lateral hemisection. The authors scored recovery of function in an open field and during hand tasks in a restraining chair. In addition, EMG analyses were performed in the open field, during hand tasks, and while animals walked on a treadmill. Both control and treated monkeys that received candidate therapeutics were included in this report to determine whether the behavioral assays were capable of detecting changes in function over a wide range of outcomes. Results. The behavioral assays are shown to be sensitive to detecting a wide range of motor functional outcomes after cervical hemisection in the nonhuman primate. Population curves on recovery of function were similar across the different tasks; in general, the population recovers to about 50% of baseline performance on measures of forelimb function. Conclusions. The behavioral outcome measures that the authors developed in this preclinical nonhuman primate model of SCI can detect a broad range of motor recovery. A set of behavioral assays is an essential component of a model that will be used to test efficacies of translational candidate therapies for SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-569
Number of pages14
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • hand function
  • nonhuman primate
  • recovery scale
  • spinal cord injury

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