Acute post-injury blockade of α2δ-1 calcium channel subunits prevents pathological autonomic plasticity after spinal cord injury.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

After spinal cord injury (SCI), normally innocuous visceral or somatic stimuli can trigger uncontrolled reflex activation of sympathetic circuitry, causing pathological dysautonomia. We show that remarkable structural remodeling and plasticity occur within spinal autonomic circuitry, creating abnormal sympathetic reflexes that promote dysautonomia. However, when mice are treated early after SCI with human-equivalent doses of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug gabapentin (GBP), it is possible to block multi-segmental excitatory synaptogenesis and abolish sprouting of autonomic neurons that innervate immune organs and sensory afferents that trigger pain and autonomic dysreflexia (AD). This "prophylactic GBP" regimen decreases the frequency and severity of AD and protects against SCI-induced immune suppression. These benefits persist even 1 month after stopping treatment. GBP could be repurposed to prevent dysautonomia in at-risk individuals with high-level SCI.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Brennan, FH; Noble, BT; Wang, Y; Guan, Z; Davis, H; Mo, X; Harris, C; Eroglu, C; Ferguson, AR; Popovich, PG

Published Date

  • January 26, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 108667 -

PubMed ID

  • 33503436

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8817229

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2211-1247

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108667


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States