Research ArticleSpinal Cord Injury

Acute hyperglycemia impairs functional improvement after spinal cord injury in mice and humans

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Science Translational Medicine  01 Oct 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 256, pp. 256ra137
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009430

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Treating Hyperglycemia After Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury is a devastating disorder for which the identification of exacerbating factors is urgently needed. Kobayakawa et al. now report that acute hyperglycemia after spinal cord injury is an independent risk factor for poor functional outcome. They demonstrate that resident immune cells called microglia become overactivated after spinal cord injury when blood glucose concentrations are too high. This resulted in exacerbation of the inflammatory response and poor pathological and functional outcomes in mice and in humans with spinal cord injury. In contrast, manipulating blood glucose concentrations rescued poor functional outcomes after acute spinal cord injury in mice. These results suggest that glycemic control may be needed to improve recovery after acute spinal cord injury in human patients.