Sasha Rabchevsky, associate professor of physiology, Patrick Sullivan, associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology, and Samir Patel, senior research scientist -- all of the UK Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) -- have discovered that in experimental models, severe spinal cord injury can be treated effectively by administering the supplement acetyl-L-carnitine or ALC, a derivative of essential amino acids that can generate metabolic energy, soon after injury.
The researchers previously reported that following spinal cord injury, the mitochondria, or energy-generation components of cells, are overwhelmed by chemical stresses and lose the ability to produce energy in the form of the compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). [1,2] This leads to cell death at the injury site and, ultimately, paralysis of the body below the injury level.
Rabchevsky, Sullivan and Patel have recently demonstrated that ALC can preserve the vitality of mitochondria by acting as an alternative biofuel providing energy to cells, thus bypassing damaged mitochondrial enzymes and promoting neuroprotection. 
Results soon to be published show that systemic administration of ALC soon after a paralyzing injury promoted the milestone recovery of the ability to walk. Unlike the animal control group given no ALC, which regained only slight hindlimb movements, the group treated with ALC recovered hindlimb movements more quickly and were able to stand on all four limbs and walk a month later. Critically, such remarkable recovery was correlated with significant tissue sparing at the injury site following administration of ALC.
Because ALC can be administered orally, and is well-tolerated at relatively high doses in humans, researchers believe that their discovery may be translated easily to clinical practice as an early intervention for people with traumatic spinal cord injuries.
Initial funding for these studies was provided by the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust (KSCHIRT). Based on their findings, the research team has been awarded additional grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, with the aim of enabling the investigators to study the beneficial effects of combining ALC with an antioxidant agent known as N-acetylcysteine amide (NACA). The results were reported at the recent National Neurotrauma Society Symposium in July 2011, and will be presented again at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in November 2011.
When translated into clinical practice, this research is expected to offer a viable pharmacological option for promoting neuroprotection and maximizing functional recover following traumatic spinal cord injury.MEDIA CONTACT
2. Sullivan, P.G., et al., Temporal characterization of mitochondrial bioenergetics after spinal cord injury. J Neurotrauma, 2007. 24(6): p. 991-9.
3. Patel, S.P., et al., Acetyl-L-Carnitine Ameliorates Mitochondrial Dysfunction Following Contusion Spinal Cord Injury. J Neurochem, 2010 114(1): 291-301.
Allison Elliott | EurekAlert!
Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences