Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a serious clinical situation for which no suitable drug therapy exists. SCI often results in paraplegia or quadriplegia and, apart from the personal trauma leads to huge costs to society for rehabilitation or day-to-day life support. Sensory motor dysfunction following SCI is mainly a consequence of the slowly progressing cord pathology after primary injury that worsens over tine. Thus, almost all sensory and motor nerve control and pathways passing through spinal cord and reflexes are compromised in SCI patients. As a result their peripheral nervous system, autonomic nervous function and central nervous system regulations are adversely affected. Experiments carried out in our laboratory show that various therapeutic agents, if given within 10 to 30 minutes after primary SCI could correct morphological changes to a certain extent. In these rat models of SCI reduction in cord pathology, e.g., bloodspinal cord barrier (BSCB) breakdown, edema formation and cell injury by the neuroprotective agents that also limited sensory motor dysfunction and improved functional behavior. However, these drugs if given beyond 30 minutes after SCI showed a markedly reduced neuroprotective efficacy. Thus, new strategies are needed to enhance neuroprotection in SCI to prevent structural and functional changes over longer periods of time. To that end our laboratory has initiated a series of investigations in which nanowired delivery of various neurotherapeutic agents are applied after different time periods of SCI, that resulted in a much better outcome than with the parent compounds under identical conditions. The superior neuroprotective activity of nanowired compound delivery could be due to a reduced metabolism of active compounds in the central nervous system (CNS) or by sustained release of the drug for longer times. In addition, nanowired drugs may penetrate the CNS faster and could reach widespread areas once entering the spinal cord. Thus, nanowired drug delivery to treat SCI may have potential therapeutic value. These aspects of nanowired drug delivery to enhance neuroprotection in SCI are discussed in this review based on our own investigations.
Keywords: Nanowired drug delivery, spinal cord injury, blood-spinal cord barrier, spinal cord edema, TiO2 nanowires, silica nanowires, neuronal injury, stem cells, functional recovery, astrocytes, myelin, ultrastructure, nanoparticles
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