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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Mar 2023 - 17 Mar 2023

Clinical, Review

Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Feb 28

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids



The potential effects of polyunsaturated ω-3 fatty acids on spinal cord injury: A systematic review & meta-analysis of preclinical evidence.


MacIntosh-Smith WAC, Abdallah A, Cunningham CJ


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have received attention for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Preclinical studies have investigated the efficacy of PUFAs in animal models of spinal cord injury (SCI) to determine if these properties can translate to neuroprotection and locomotor recovery. Findings from such studies have been promising, suggesting PUFAs as potential treatments against the neurological dysfunction induced by SCI. This systematic review and meta-analysis sought to investigate the efficacy of PUFAs for promoting locomotor recovery in animal models of SCI. PubMed, Web of Science and Embase (Ovid) were searched for relevant papers and those that examined the restorative effects of PUFAs on locomotor recovery in preclinical SCI models were included in our analysis. A random effects meta-analysis (restricted maximum likelihood estimator) was employed. A total of 28 studies were included and the results showed the claim that PUFAs have a beneficial therapeutic effect for promoting locomotor recovery (SMD = 1.037, 95% CI = 0.809-1.2644, p = <0.001) and cell survival (SMD = 1.101, 95% CI = 0.889-1.313, p = <0.001) in animal models of SCI. No significant differences for the secondary outcomes of neuropathic pain and lesion volume. Moderate asymmetry was observed in the funnel plots for locomotor recovery, cell survival and neuropathic pain measures, suggesting publication bias. Trim-and-fill analysis estimated 13, 3, 0 and 4 missing studies for locomotor recovery, cell survival, neuropathic pain, and lesion volume, respectively. A modified CAMARADES checklist was also used to assess risk of bias, showing that the median score for all included papers was 4 out of a possible 7.