The latest news and information about what's going on with SCI science and research.
is a blood pressure complication of spinal cord injury that affects those with injuries above the T6 level; this can be a life-threatening medical emergency that can lead to pulmonary embolism of stroke, but most folks can fairly quickly respond to AD and learn to prevent it.
In a study that came out a few days ago, researchers at Ohio State show that AD is double-edged: First, AD is inevitable and develops spontaneously; it becomes more frequent as time passes. But AD also suppresses the immune system and can render tetraplegics (quads in old school lingo) vulnerable to infection.
From Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center:
"Our research offers an explanation for why people with spinal cord injuries develop a condition referred to as 'central immune depression syndrome.' Their immune systems, which are required to fight off infection, are suppressed due to damage or malfunction in regions of the spinal cord that help control immune function," said principal investigator Phillip G. Popovich, Ph.D., Director of Ohio State's Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair.
Encouraging news: Popovich and his group were able to restore immune function in spinal cord injured mice using drugs that inhibit norepinephrine and glucocorticoids. Those are hormones that modulate immune response, They are produced as AD occurs and as it progresses. Once released, the hormones kill white blood cells in the spleen, thus breaking down one of the body’s primary defense mechanisms against infection.
"Our research is laying the groundwork for potential therapeutic targets for reversing central immune depression syndrome," lead author Yi Zhang said. Clearly, further research is needed.
The paper is titled “Autonomic Dysreflexia Causes Chronic Immune Suppression after Spinal Cord Injury
Request a FREE Autonomic Dysreflexia wallet card
from the Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center