Treatment prevents later-stage tissue loss contributing to long-term injury
Researchers at Brigham and Womens Hospital (BWH) and Childrens Hospital Boston (CHB) have found that a commonly prescribed antibiotic could be used to help prevent paralysis and other long-term functional deficits associated with a partial spinal cord injury (SCI). Researchers in the field have known that a significant proportion of paralysis and long-term functional disorders associated with SCI are triggered by post-trauma tissue loss. Administering the antibiotic, minocycline, to rats within the first hour after a paralyzing injury has been shown to reduce this tissue loss and ultimately enable more hind-leg function, the ability to walk with more coordination, better foot posture and stepping, and better support of body weight than untreated controls. The findings are published in the March 2, 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The BWH/CHB researchers found that minocycline reduces later-stage tissue loss by blocking release of a protein known as mitochondrial cytochrome c. Yang D. Teng, MD, PhD, of the joint BWH/CHB neurosurgery program and co-lead author of the study, notes that other experimental agents can prevent later-stage tissue loss, but must be given immediately after or even before SCI to be effective. "The field has badly needed to develop a drug that could be used in a practical manner," said Teng.
Susan Craig | EurekAlert!
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