Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology

Committee Chair

Magnuson, David Stuart

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Benton, Richard

Committee Member

Benton, Richard

Committee Member

Newton, Tamara


Spinal cord--Wounds and injuries--Research; Animal immobilization


Background: Spontaneous locomotor recovery in spinal rats has been attributed to animals moving freely in-cage. Environmental enrichment has been shown to increase in-cage movement and functional recovery subsequently. Anxiety has been shown to decrease overnight activity in rats. Methods: Rats were double-housed in medium cages (MC) or single-housed in tiny sized cages (TC). Slotted dividers allowed for partial isolation in TC. Overnight activity was monitored bi-weekly. The open field test and BBB’s were taken weekly. Gait analysis was performed at weeks six and eight. Results: MC showed higher overnight activity and improved gait overtime. No differences were found in BBB scores. Differences in anxiety began to show in the last few weeks of the study. Discussion: The opportunity for movement in MC led to these animals having higher in-cage activity and an improvement in gait. A more severe injury than anticipated perhaps caused low BBB scores. MC animals may have been anxious due to unwanted stressors.