Kenzo Uchida, Hideaki Nakajima, Shuji Watanabe, Takafumi Yayama, Alexander Rodriguez Guerrero, Tomoo Inukai, Takayuki Hirai, Daisuke Sugita, William E. Johnson, Hisatoshi Baba

March 2012, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 490 - 497 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-011-2025-x

First Online: 21 September 2011


Cervical compressive myelopathy is the most serious complication of cervical spondylosis or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) and the most frequent cause of spinal cord dysfunction. There is little information on the exact pathophysiological mechanism responsible for the progressive loss of neural tissue in the spinal cord of such patients. In this study, we used the spinal hyperostotic mouse (twy/twy) as a suitable model of human spondylosis, and OPLL to investigate the cellular and molecular changes in the spinal cord. Mutant twy/twy mouse developed ossification of the ligamentum flavum at C2–C3 and exhibited progressive paralysis.

Materials and methods

The mutant twy/twy mice, aged 16 and 24 weeks, were used in the present study. The cervical spinal cord was analyzed histologically and immunohistochemically.


We observed that a significant correlation between the proportion of apoptotic oligodendrocytes in the compressed area of the spinal cord and the magnitude of cord compression. Immunohistochemical analysis indicated overexpression of TNFR1, CD95, and p75NTR in the twy/twy mice, which was localized by the immunofluorescence in the neurons and oligodendrocytes.


The expression of such factors seems to play at least some role in the apoptotic process, which probably contributes to axonal degeneration and demyelination in the twy/twy mice spinal cords with severe compression.

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