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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Jan 2023 - 3 Feb 2023

2023 Jan 09

Bioengineering (Basel)



Attenuation of SCI-Induced Hypersensitivity by Intensive Locomotor Training and Recombinant GABAergic Cells.


Jergova S, Dugan EA, Sagen J
Bioengineering (Basel). 2023 Jan 09; 10(1).
PMID: 36671656.


The underlying mechanisms of spinal cord injury (SCI)-induced chronic pain involve dysfunctional GABAergic signaling and enhanced NMDA signaling. Our previous studies showed that SCI hypersensitivity in rats can be attenuated by recombinant rat GABAergic cells releasing NMDA blocker serine-histogranin (SHG) and by intensive locomotor training (ILT). The current study combines these approaches and evaluates their analgesic effects on a model of SCI pain in rats. Cells were grafted into the spinal cord at 4 weeks post-SCI to target the chronic pain, and ILT was initiated 5 weeks post-SCI. The hypersensitivity was evaluated weekly, which was followed by histological and biochemical assays. Prolonged effects of the treatment were evaluated in subgroups of animals after we discontinued ILT. The results show attenuation of tactile, heat and cold hypersensitivity in all of the treated animals and reduced levels of proinflammatory cytokines IL1β and TNFα in the spinal tissue and CSF. Animals with recombinant grafts and ILT showed the preservation of analgesic effects even during sedentary periods when the ILT was discontinued. Retraining helped to re-establish the effect of long-term training in all of the groups, with the greatest impact being in animals with recombinant grafts. These findings suggest that intermittent training in combination with cell therapy might be an efficient approach to manage chronic pain in SCI patients.