Limiting the Secondary Phase of Contusive Spinal Cord Injury Using Conjugated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles

All, Angelo

Abstract? Spinal cord injury (SCI) severely limits mobility and leads to a poor quality of life with no treatment options. Secondary phase of SCI starts within the first week and involves apoptosis and necrosis of neurons and glial cells. The long-term progress of injury has devastating consequences for patients with SCI. Thus, limiting the secondary phase of SCI should be a primary target for early therapeutic strategies. INTRODUCTION - Reactive-astrocytes are the main machinery responsible for scar formation, progress of cavity formation and the destructive progress of injury during sub-acute phase of contusion SCI [1]. Administration of nanoparticles conjugated with specific antibodies and inhibitors that can specifically target these reactive-astrocytes at the injury site within a few days post-contusion (but not immediately) could limit the secondary phase of injury, retard the over-activation of reactive-astrocytes and prevent further destruction of spared axons and healthy parenchyma. These nanoparticles must be designed to recognize and deactivate reactive-astrocytes upon their administration at and around the epicenter of the injury. As a result, they will limit unnecessary progress of injury. These specifically functionalized nanoparticles provide a potential therapeutic strategy post-SCI.