Catheterization of the subarachnoid space provides a convenient means to deliver drugs to, or collect cerebrospinal fluid from, the spinal cord in animal experiments, and has been instrumental to our understanding of spinal mechanisms that underlie anesthesia, analgesia, or cardiovascular regulation. Experience gained over the years has revealed several shortcomings of this technique. We report a procedure that encompasses the benefits of direct subarachnoid catheterization of the rat thoracic spinal cord but circumvents the known shortcomings. An intrathecal catheter was fabricated with a small silicon bead at one end of a PE-10 catheter, which was cannulated with a 4/0 suture that served as a guide. Using the L-shape hook of the suture guide as an anchorage, the catheter was advanced into the subarachnoid space until the silicon bead was lodged on a drilled hole (2 × 2 mm) over the lamina proper on the T13 vertebrae. With less surgical trauma, greater precision of placement and firmer anchorage of the catheter, less leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, and minimal mortality or morbidity, our modified procedure for catheterization of the thoracic spinal subarachnoid space in the rat compared favorably to previously reported methods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes