Exp Neurol., Feb 2020

Adaptation of tape removal test for measurement of sensitivity in perineal area of rat.


Neumannova K, Machova-Urdzikova L, Kwok JCF, Fawcett JW, Jendelova P

Abstract

Regeneration after spinal cord injury is a goal of many studies. Although the most obvious target is to recover motor function, restoration of sensation can also improve the quality of life after spinal cord injury. For many patients, recovery of sensation in the perineal and genital area is a high priority. Currently there is no experimental test in rodents for measuring changes in sensation in the perineal and genital area after spinal cord injury. The aim of our study was to develop a behavioural test for measuring the sensitivity of the perineal and genital area in rats. We have modified the tape removal test used routinely to test sensorimotor deficits after stroke and spinal cord injury to test the perineal area with several variations. A small piece of tape (approximately 1 cm2) was attached to the perineal area. Time to first contact and to the removal of the tape was measured. Each rat was trained for 5 consecutive days and then tested weekly. We compared different rat strains (Wistar, Sprague-Dawley, Long-Evans and Lewis), both genders, shaving and non-shaving and different types of tape. We found that the test was suitable for all tested strains, however, Lewis rats achieved the lowest contact times, but this difference was significant only for the first few days of learning the task. There were no significant differences between gender and different types of tape or shaving. After training the animals underwent dorsal column lesion at T10 and were tested at day 3, 8, 14 and 21. The test detected a sensory deficit, the average time across all animals to sense the stimulus increased from 1'32 up to 3'20. There was a strong relationship between lesion size and tape detection time, and only lesions that extended laterally to the dorsal root entry zone produced significant sensory deficits. Other standard behavioural tests (BBB, von Frey, ladder and Plantar test) were performed in the same animals. There was a correlation between lesion size and deficit for the ladder and BBB tests, but not for the von Frey and Plantar tests. We conclude that the tape removal test is suitable for testing perineal sensation in rats, can be used in different strains and is appropriate for monitoring changes in sensation after spinal cord injury.

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