Minocycline reduces autonomic over-stimulation

Back to overview

The administration of the antibiotic minocycline shortly after a spinal cord injury can reduce the over-activation of the autonomic nervous system and thus possibly avoid life-threatening situations.

Autonomic dysreflexia (also hyperreflexia) means an over-activity of the autonomic nervous system, i.e. that part of the nervous system that regulates internal bodily functions without conscious control It can develop suddenly and can cause e.g. a severe hypertension. Thus, it is considered a medical emergency. If not treated promptly and correctly, it can lead to stroke and, in the worst case, even death.

What is behind it?
Suppose that a person with high injury has a full bladder. The nerves cannot adequately pass on this information due to the injury. An uncontrolled reflex causes the autonomic nervous system to be excessively stimulated. This leads to a narrowing of the blood vessels; the blood pressure rises strongly.

What is minocycline?
Minocycline is a commonly used antibiotic to treat infections. Experimental and clinical phase 2 studies in humans have shown that minocycline can also protect the nerve cells and thus improve motor function after a spinal cord injury.

Exciting study
A group of Canadian scientists led by Dr. Andrei V. Krassioukov has now discovered that minocycline has a positive effect on autonomic dysreflexia. Using an experimental model, they observed in the laboratory that minocycline reduces the size of spinal cord injury. Thus, the number of neurons that pass through is increased and the severity of autonomic dysreflexia is mostly reduced. Studies and clinical trials in the future will investigate more effects of Minocylin. 

This study was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Source : “Minocycline Reduces the Severity of Autonomic Dysreflexia after Experimental Spinal Cord Injury”. Squair JW, Ruiz I, Phillips AA, Zheng MMZ, Sarafis ZK, Sachdeva R, Gopaul R, Liu J, Tetzlaff W, West CR, Krassioukov AV. Journal of Neurotrauma, September 2018.