The availability of genetically manipulated mice offers a golden opportunity for the study of the contribution of the genome to diseases. Because of the technical difficulty in performing spinal subarachnoid catheterization in mice, this opportunity has hitherto been less harnessed in investigations on the role of the spinal cord in the physiological or pathological processes. Even less explored are spinal mechanisms that underlie cardiovascular regulation since subarachnoid catheterization of the mouse thoracic spinal cord, where preganglionic sympathetic neurons governing vasomotor tone are located posts the highest challenge because of the restricted operating area. We report a procedure for subarachnoid catheterization of the thoracic spinal cord in mice that did not require laminectomy or drilling of the lamina proper, and compared the suitability of two candidate catheters, polyethylene PE-5 catheter (0.51. mm, OD) and polyurethane PU-10 catheter (0.25. mm, OD). Whereas all implanted mice resumed normal feeding one day after surgery and were devoid of bladder dysfunction or self-mutilation, the smaller and softer PU-10 catheter compared favorably because of lower post-operative mortality rate and no unilateral lower limb paresis.
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