Russell G Durkovic, PhD
- Professor of Neuroscience and Physiology
Research Programs and Affiliations
- Biomedical Sciences Program
- Research Pillars
Education & Fellowships
- Postdoctoral Fellow: SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse
- PhD: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 1968
- Examination of processes underlying recovery from spinal cord injury in the salamander.
Research AbstractThe purpose of this project is to gain an understanding of recovery from spinal cord injury (SCI) in the salamander. Salamanders are the only limbed vertebrates that have the capability of structural and functional recovery from (SCI) at all spinal levels. However, important details of the nature of neuronal growth across the damaged region are unknown. For example, it is not known: i) how many previously projecting neurons are able to extend their axons across the transection site, ii) if here a contribution to growth across the injury site from newly born neurons (neurogenesis) and/or iii) if neurons that did not previously project to the injury site sprout axons which project across the site of injury. Also unknown is precisely how well motor systems below the injury level regain their function.
The major hypotheses being tested is that structural and functional recovery from spinal cord transection or injury is accomplished in salamander not only by elongation of cut or damaged axons of preexisting neurons but also by projections of newborn neurons. Comprehensive video analyses of locomotor activities before and after SCI will be used to document injury recovery capabilities. Because such recovery processes appear to decline in older animals, a specific goal of this project is to conduct these studies in both larval and adult salamanders.
Neurons (newborn vs. preexisting) involved in spinal cord re-connection will be defined using histological techniques (BrdU immunohistochemistry to define newborn neurons, combined with retrograde tracing with fluoro-gold to define normally projecting neurons, and fluorescent-labeled microsphere transport to define neurons that project axons across the spinal transection or crush zone).
The experiments will provide data important for the assessment of: (i) the role of neurogenesis in recovery from SCI in these animals and (ii) the capabilities of larval and adult salamanders to recover locomotor activities following SCI. The relevance of this research is twofold: it will provide insights regarding the cellular processes involved in recovery from SCI as well as indicate the specific goals to strive for in motor system recovery following human SCI.
Misulis, K.E. and Durkovic, R.G. (1982). Classically conditioned alterations in single motor unit activity in the spinal cat. Behav. Brain Res., 5: 311 317.
Durkovic, R.G. (1983). Classical conditioning of the flexion reflex in spinal cat: features of the reflex circuitry. Neurosci. Lett., 39: 155-160.
Durkovic, R.G. (1986). The spinal cord: A symplified system for the study of neural mechanisms of mammalian learning and memory. In Fidia Research Series III. Development of Plasticity of the Mammalian Spinal Cord, M.E. Goldberger, A. Gorio and M. Murray, eds. , New York, Springer, pp. 149-162.
Durkovic, R.G. and Damianopoulos, E.N. (1986). Forward and backward classical conditioning of the flexion reflex in the spinal cat. J. Neurosci., 6: 2921-2925.
Leahy, J.C. and Durkovic, R.G. (1991). Differential synaptic effects on physiological flexor hindlimb motoneurons from cutaneous inputs in spinal cat. J. Neurophysiol., 66: 460-472.
Hoover, J.E., and Durkovic, R.G. (1992). Retrograde labeling of lumbosacral interneurons following injections of red and green fluorescent microspheres into hindlimb motor nuclei of the cat. Somatosen. and Mot. Res., 9: 211-226.