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D. Ryan Ormond, Hong Peng, Richard Zeman, Kaushik Das, Raj Murali and Meena Jhanwar-Uniyal

Object

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating disease. Primary SCI results from direct injury to the spinal cord, whereas secondary injury is a side effect from subsequent edema and ischemia followed by activation of proinflammatory cytokines. These cytokines activate the prosurvival molecule nuclear factor–κB and generate obstacles in spinal cord reinnervation due to gliosis. Curcumin longa is an active compound found in turmeric, which acts as an antiinflammatory agent primarily by inhibiting nuclear factor–κB. Here, the authors study the effect of curcumin on SCI recovery.

Methods

Fourteen female Sprague-Dawley rats underwent T9–10 laminectomy and spinal cord contusion using a weight-drop apparatus. Within 30 minutes after contusion and weekly thereafter, curcumin (60 mg/kg/ml body weight in dimethyl sulfoxide) or dimethyl sulfoxide (1 ml/kg body weight) was administered via percutaneous epidural injection at the injury site. Spinal cord injury recovery was assessed weekly by scoring hindlimb motor function. Animals were killed 6 weeks postcontusion for histopathological analysis of spinal cords and soleus muscle weight evaluation.

Results

Curcumin-treated rats had improved motor function compared with controls starting from Week 1. Body weight gain significantly improved, correlating with improved Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan scores. Soleus muscle weight was greater in curcumin-treated rats than controls. Histopathological analysis validated these results with increased neural element mass with less gliosis at the contusion site in curcumin-treated rats than controls.

Conclusions

Epidural administration of curcumin resulted in improved recovery from SCI. This occurred with no adverse effects noted in experimental animals. Therefore, curcumin treatment may translate into a novel therapy for humans with SCI.

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Ibrahim Omeis, Weiliam Chen, Meena Jhanwar-Uniyal, Renato Rozental, Raj Murali and John M. Abrahams

Object

One mechanism that contributes to cerebral vasospasm is the impairment of potassium channels in vascular smooth muscles. Adenosine triphosphate–sensitive potassium channel openers (PCOs) appear to be particularly effective for dilating cerebral arteries in experimental models of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). A mode of safe administration that provides timed release of PCO drugs is still a subject of investigation. The authors tested the efficacy of locally delivered intrathecal cromakalim, a PCO, incorporated into a controlled-release system to prevent cerebral vasospasm in a rat model of SAH.

Methods

Cromakalim was coupled to a viscous carrier, hyaluronan, 15% by weight. In vitro release kinetics studies showed a steady release of cromakalim over days. Fifty adult male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 350–400 g each were divided into 10 groups and treated with various doses of cromakalim or cromakalim/hyaluronan in a rat double SAH model. Treatment was started 30 minutes after the second SAH induction. Animals were killed 3 days after treatment, and the basilar arteries were processed for morphometric measurements and histological analysis.

Results

Controlled release of cromakalim from the cromakalim/hyaluronan implant at a dose of 0.055 mg/kg significantly increased lumen patency in a dose-dependent manner up to 94 ± 8% (mean ± standard error of the mean) of the basilar arteries of the sham group compared with the empty polymer group (p = 0.006). Results in the empty polymer group were not different from those in the SAH-only group, with a lumen patency of 65 ± 12%. Lumen patencies of the cromakalim-only groups did not differ in statistical significance at low (64 ± 9%) or high (66 ± 7%) doses compared to the SAH-only group.

Conclusions

Treatment of SAH with a controlled-release cromakalim/hyaluronan implant prevented experimental cerebral vasospasm in this rat double hemorrhage model; this inhibition was dose-dependent. The authors' results confirm that sustained delivery of cromakalim perivascularly to cerebral vessels could be an effective therapeutic strategy in the treatment of cerebral vasospasm after SAH.