In case of nervous damages, like nervous system trauma or various neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia or Parkinson, several treatments are available to restore neurological function. In spite of these treatments, results are often insufficient or not satisfactory in many neurologic diseases, especially for central nervous system (CNS) lesions. To minimize neurological dysfunction, it is critical to reduce neuronal death, avoiding loss of the synaptic connections, and securing viable neurons to extend axons. Unfortunately, there are no effective strategies to fulfill these basic needs except for some cases of peripheral neural damage up to now.
Rescue of damaged neurons, stimulation of neurogenesis and transplantation of nervous tissue are strategies proposed to prevent neurodegenerative disorders. A number of studies have recently reported successful axon regeneration and neurological recovery by using immunosuppressants, such as FK506. Immunosuppressants act as excellent agents for enhancing the rate and extent of axon regeneration and neurological recovery. FK506 and other neuroimmunophilin ligands (NILs) might reverse neuronal degeneration. In several animal models mimicking Parkinsons disease, dementia and surgical damage, NILs induces resprouting, by acting as neurotrophic agents and preventing nerve damage, although more studies are necessary to identify new NILs with neuroprotective action, but lacking the side immunological effects observed in the ligands analyzed to date.
This review explores the new clinical role of immunosuppressants in the treatment of nerve surgery of autologous, allografts or xenografts. Results of studies regarding immunosuppressant treatment of nervous system trauma and neurodegenerative diseases, like neurogenic erectile dysfunction, will be here considered.