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MS medication promotes functional recovery

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After a spinal cord injury, several molecules that inhibit neural regeneration are expressed at the lesion site. Among those is the Repulsive Guidance Molecule A, simply called RGMa. It is rapidly expressed after a spinal cord injury. The same molecule is also present in multiple sclerosis lesions and amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease, in which it plays a role in cell death regulation.

Test in spinal cord injury
Scientists decided to test in an experiment the effect of an intravenous injection of elezanumab, antibodies that block the effect of RGMa, on an acute model of spinal cord injury. At first, analysis revealed that elezanumab was detectable within the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Three hours after the injury, this treatment was able to improve both fine motor function and gait. This was also associated with the restoration of spontaneous voiding function and improved bladder morphology. Moreover, scientists could correlate these recoveries to a significant neuroprotective effect, as elezanumab diminished cell death after injury.

Significant advantages
Since RGMa plays a prominent role in multiple sclerosis, elezanumab is already being tested in clinical trials. This should make its clinical testing in human spinal cord injuries much easier and faster.
The treatment three hours after injury should correspond to a window of administration roughly equivalent to 12-24 hours in human beings. This is clinically important because it provides enough time for most SCI patients to reach medical centers and to begin treatment.

This work was authored by scientists Andrea Mothe and Charles Tator from Canada. It was published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease and was supported by Wings for Life.

Source: Mothe AJ, Coelho M, Huang L, Monnier PP, Cui YF, Mueller BK, Jacobson PB, Tator CH. Delayed administration of the human anti-RGMa monoclonal antibody elezanumab promotes functional recovery including spontaneous voiding after spinal cord injury in rats. Neurobiology of Disease. 143 (2020) 104995

You can find out more on the spinal cord and the influence of its damage on the human body in our basic-information. Wings for Life Glossary gives an understanding of scientific terms.