All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Candace L Floyd

Advisory Committee Members

Keneshia M Kirksey

Sean D McAllister

Timothy J Ness

Robert E Sorge

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Heersink School of Medicine


Spinal cord injury (SCI) affects between 40 and 80 million people globally. Within the United States over 400,000 individuals live with SCI, and annually over 17,000 individu-als are added to this population. SCI patients are afflicted with a myriad of issues, one of which being SCI induced neuropathic pain (SCI-NP). Up to 80% of SCI patients go on to develop SCI-NP, which has been shown to last chronically and present itself as evoked pain, spontaneous pain, or a combination of both. SCI-NP is a top concern for SCI pa-tients, often listed before functional recovery. SCI-NP has been shown to greatly dimin-ish quality of life, as there are poor therapeutic options for this issue. Several issues com-plicating the development of therapeutics is that the root cause of SCI is accidental trau-ma and not an underlying disease thus introducing high variability between patients; ad-ditionally, level and severity of injury are not correlated to SCI-NP development. These issues cause complications determining which patients are at high risk for developing this pain disorder as well as difficulty in developing treatments for SCI-NP. With these issues in mind, the goals of the studies conducted were two-fold. First, to better understand contributors to SCI-NP development, and secondly evaluating a therapeutic for SCI-NP. The first goal was investigated by exposing two strains of rodents with differing levels of stress responsiveness to a chronic stress paradigm prior to SCI. The second goal was in-vestigated by administering cannabidiol (CBD) acutely after injury. Both studies utilized an incomplete cervical injury model and behavioral assessments testing motor and sensory function. In the stress study, it was found that pre-injury stress increased incidence of response to cold stimuli in rodents hyper-responsive to stress, indicating that chronic stress prior to injury exacerbates SCI-NP. In the CBD study, it was determined that CBD administration acutely after injury imparted protective effects against SCI-NP in both sexes, with trends of greater protection in females; indicating that CBD is a viable thera-peutic for SCI-NP. Collectively, the body of work presented aimed to provide under-standing into SCI-NP and provide a platform to provide therapies for this disorder.



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