Minocycline reduces the severity of autonomic dysreflexia after experimental spinal cord injury.
Squair JW, Ruiz I, Phillips AA, Zheng MM, Sarafis Z, Sachdeva R, Gopaul R, Liu J, Tetzlaff W, West CR, Krassioukov AV.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating neurological condition for which there is no effective treatment to restore neurological function. The development of new treatments for those with SCI may be hampered by the insensitivity of clinical tools to assess motor function in humans. Treatments aimed at preserving neuronal function through anti-inflammatory pathways (i.e., neuroprotection) have been a mainstay of pre-clinical SCI research for decades. Minocycline, a clinically available antibiotic agent with anti-inflammatory properties, has demonstrated promising neuroprotective effects in a variety of animal models and improved motor recovery in a Phase-2 human trial. Here, we leveraged our recently developed T3 severe contusion model in the rat to determine the ability of minocycline to preserve descending sympathoexcitatory axons and improve cardiovascular control after SCI. Forty-one male Wistar rats were randomized to either a treatment group (minocycline; n = 20) or a control group (vehicle; n = 21). All rats received a severe T3 contusion. Minocycline (or vehicle) was administered intraperitoneally at one hour post-injury (90 mg/kg), then every 12 h for two weeks (45 mg/kg). Neuroanatomical correlates (lesion area, descending sympathoexcitatory axons) were assessed, in addition to an assessment of cardiovascular control (hemodynamics, autonomic dysreflexia) and motor behavior. Here, we show that minocycline reduces lesion area, increases the number of descending sympathoexctitatory axons traversing the injury site, and ultimately reduces the severity of autonomic dysreflexia. Finally, we show that autonomic dysreflexia is a more sensitive marker of treatment stratification than motor function.