Spinal cord injury (SCI) is an important pathology leading to possibly fatal consequences. The most common repercussions are those affecting motor and sensitivity skills. SCI-damage occurs in its first phase—as a result of the lesion mechanism (contusion, compression, transection, and primary lesion). After this primary damage, there is a second phase with further deleterious effects on neural degeneration and tissue restoration. At the moment, several investigation groups are working on developing therapeutic strategies to induce neuroprotection. This chapter pretends to introduce the reader to a wide range of these therapies, particularly those with promising results and tested in preclinical and clinical studies. In the first section, physiopathology of SCI will be addressed. Afterwards, the chapter will review neuroprotective strategies such as cyclooxygenase, calpain, and apoptosis inhibitors. Finally, the effect of immunophilin ligands, neural-derived peptides, antioxidants, hypoglycemic agent, gonadal hormones, Na channel blockers, and transplant of cultured cells will also be reviewed.
Part of the book: Neuroprotection
The inflammatory response after a spinal cord injury (SCI) is a secondary mechanism of damage, this involves alterations at the local and systemic level, and it is mediated by cytokine participation that takes part actively. The excessive inflammatory response causes an autoreactive response that targets against components of the nervous tissue; this response lengthens the inflammatory process initiated during the acute phase. The participation of immune cells in acute phases is characterized by the arrival of neutrophils, macrophages, and microglia, as well as T lymphocytes, which express their peaks on different days post-injury (1st, 3rd, and 11th respectively). The chronic phase of the injury begins 14 days after it occurred, reaching its highest point at 60 days, and can still be detected the following 180 days. One of the outcomes of the inflammatory process and cytokine synthesis is the generation of glial scar. In this chapter, we will review the different cytokine mechanisms involved in the formation of glial scar in acute and chronic phases, as well as the modulating treatments of glial scar.
Part of the book: Cytokines