Research ArticleSpinal Cord Injury

Riluzole blocks perioperative ischemia-reperfusion injury and enhances postdecompression outcomes in cervical spondylotic myelopathy

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Dec 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 316, pp. 316ra194
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac6524

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Improving the odds for decompression surgery

Decompression surgery is generally effective in alleviating neurological impairment in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction. In a new work, Karadimas et al. show that some patients with CSM experience neurological complications after decompression surgery. Using a rat model of CSM, the authors demonstrate that these complications are, in part, due to the rapid increase in blood flow after decompression of the compressed spinal cord. The FDA-approved drug riluzole can protect against injury after decompression surgery, reducing neurological complications and improving long-term outcomes beyond those seen with decompression surgery alone.