Angela Filous, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA

Testing non-antibiotic strategies to prevent acquired infections

Funded in: 2020, 2021, 2022

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Problem: Reduced capacity for functional recovery due to infections
Target: Explore the underlying causes to functional impairments
Goal: Interventions that could preserve recovery potential

After spinal cord injury, patients are highly susceptible to infections, making pneumonia the leading cause of death after acute spinal cord injury. Even patients that survive these infections have a reduced capacity for functional recovery compared to patients that never suffered an infection. Little is known about what causes these long-lasting functional impairments. The scientists developed a novel mouse model to study pneumonia after spinal cord injury. Similar to human patients, in this model, mice with infections also have increased mortality and reduced functional recovery. In this study, they will further explore the underlying causes to these functional impairments. Based on their evidence that pneumonia after spinal cord injury causes increased secondary damage at the lesion site, the researchers will test strategies to protect against this insult. Because infections typically occur several days after injury, they have an opportune window for intervention that could preserve recovery potential for many spinal cord injury patients.