Preventing Spinal Cord Injury Complications by Targeting Microglia Cells

Spine Injury

Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have made a critical discovery that could benefit people with spinal cord injuries. Published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, their study unveils new insights into the mechanisms of autonomic dysfunction following severe spinal injuries and identifies potential avenues for therapy.

Title: “Microglia promote maladaptive plasticity in autonomic circuitry after spinal cord injury in mice,”

The team explains that following a high-level spinal cord injury, extensive remodeling occurs within the spinal autonomic circuitry. This leads to exacerbated sympathetic reflexes, which can result in systemic diseases and contribute to specific organ pathologies. The process behind the formation of hyperexcitable sympathetic circuitry remains elusive, but evidence points towards local microglia playing a role in shaping these maladaptive neuronal networks. Through a mouse model of spinal cord injury, researchers observed how microglia cluster around glutamatergic interneurons, driving synaptogenesis and the expansion of sympathetic networks that manage immune, neuroendocrine, and cardiovascular functions.

The findings suggest that microglia could be a key cellular target for treatments that might reduce or mitigate the adverse effects of autonomic dysfunctions, leading to improved conditions for spinal cord injury patients.

Source: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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