For their experiments, the researchers compressed a specific nerve root known as the dorsal root ganglia in the lumbar region of the spine, which simulated sciatica in one of the rear legs. They performed numerous tests on the animals' ability to move as well as their reaction to pain and temperature. Throughout this process, they took blood samples to measure any changes in the levels of specific immune system molecules.
One of the more novel tests, developed by Allen, involved taking high-speed videotapes of the animals those that received the procedure and those that did not and analyzing step by step the particulars of the animals' gait. Specifically, they measured how the animals responded to the pressure of walking with an affected leg and how they shifted their weight in response.
"Following surgery, we noticed some novel signs of limping, characterized by changes in gait symmetry and the placement of more weight on the non-affected limb," Allen explained. "While some of our findings confirmed what others have suggested, our results were able to quantify the extent of the gait asymmetry, or limping, which could prove important as we evaluate different treatments."
Further studies are planned to test the effects of different IL-17 blockers on the mechanics of the animals' movement.
|Contact: Richard Merritt|