Spinal cord injury (SCI) in mammals leads to failure of both sensory and motor functions, due to lack of axonal regrowth below the level of injury as well as inability to replace lost neural cells and to stimulate neurogenesis. In contrast, fish and amphibians are capable of regenerating a variety of their organs like limb/fin, jaw, heart and various parts of the central nervous system (CNS). Zebrafish embryo and adult has become a very popular model to study developmental biology, cell biology and regeneration for various reasons. Adult zebrafish, one of the most important vertebrate models to study regeneration, can regenerate many of their body parts like fin, jaw, heart and CNS. In the present article we provide information on how to inflict different injury modalities in adult fish spinal cord. Presently, the significant focus of mammalian SCI is to use crush and contusion injury. To generate an entity comparable to the mammalian mode of injury, we have introduced the crush model in adult zebrafish along with complete transection injury, which is also known to be a valuable model to study axonal regeneration. Here we provide full description of the highly reproducible surgical procedures including some representative results. This protocol has been adapted from our previous publications, viz. Hui et al., 2010 and Hui et al., 2014. Briefly, we have described the two different injury modalities, crush and complete transection, and demonstrated the outcome of inflicting these injuries in the adult zebrafish cord by histological analysis of the tissues.
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