Methylprednisolone Administration Following Spinal Cord Injury Reduces Aquaporin 4 Expression and Exacerbates Edema
Currently, methylprednisolone sodium succinate (MPSS) is the standard treatment following acute spinal cord injury (SCI) as a consequence of the results obtained from the National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Studies. However, many have questioned the efficacy of MPSS because of its marginal effects. Additionally there has been criticism of both study design and statistical interpretation. The functional consequences of experimental SCI have been assessed in many ways. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of MPSS vs. saline solution (SS) following moderate T10 contusion injury in rat. Functional recovery was evaluated using the 21-point Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor recovery scale, the inclined plane, the beam walk, footprint analysis and the horizontal ladder. To optimize the precision and accuracy of functional results we examined the locomotion on a treadmill using three-dimensional (3D) analysis. Stereology was used to estimate the amount of damaged tissue. The results of the traditional functional methods showed that administration of the NASCIS dosage of MPSS following acute spinal cord contusion did not lead to any significant differences in the functional recovery of MPSS- vs. SS-treated animals. More importantly, the results of the 3D kinematic showed that the MPSS administration did not affect the flexion/extension of the hip, knee and ankle joints during the step cycle. Finally, stereological results revealed no statistically significant differences between the two experimental groups. Altogether, our results support data previously reported by several authors, suggesting that MPSS does not lead to improved functional outcome following experimental acute SCI.