Blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) plays an important role in the regulation of the fluid microenvironment of the spinal cord. Trauma to the spinal cord impairs the BSCB permeability to proteins leading to vasogenic edema formation. Several endogenous neurochemical mediators and growth factors contribute to trauma induced BSCB disruption. Studies carried out in our laboratory suggest that those drugs and neurotrophic factors capable to attenuate the BSCB dysfunction following trauma are neuroprotective in nature. Whereas, agents that do not exert any influence on the BSCB disruption failed to reduce cell injury. These observations are in line with the idea that BSCB disruption plays an important role in the pathophysiology of spinal cord injuries. The probable mechanism(s) of trauma induced BSCB dysfunction and its contribution to cell injuries are discussed.
Keywords: blood-spinal cord barrier, spinal cord edema, spinal cord evoked potentials, cell injury, glial fibrillary acidic protein, myelin basic protein, neurotrophic factors, regeneration, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide
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