A case of spinal cord injury (SCI) is defined as the occurrence of an acute traumatic lesion of neural elements in the spinal canal (spinal cord and cauda equina), resulting in temporary or permanent sensory and/or motor deficit. Most studies on traumatic SCI show a bimodal age distribution, with a first peak in young adulthood and a second peak in older adults. Spinal cord trauma activates a cascade of events that exacerbates the damage such as activation of inflammatory process that determinates cytokine and chemokine production and that generates reduction in functional recovery resulting in necrosis or apoptosis of neurons. However, the precise mechanism of SCI-induced inflammatory response remains not fully understood at present. Current strategy to treat damage to the spinal cord is limited, only the treatment with methylprednisolone (MP), if administered in excessive dose during the acute phase of the damage, could ameliorate patients with severe SCI. However, associated to the beneficial effects, there are growing evidence that high-dose of MP is correlated to increased risk of infections, pneumonia and gastrointestinal bleeding. Therefore, there is a necessity to develop new therapies to treat SCI; one of these is to selectively reduce inflammation that possess unique role in the processes of injury and recovery.
Part of the book: Recovery of Motor Function Following Spinal Cord Injury