INTRODUCTION: As one of trials on neuroprotection after spinal cord injury, we used pregabalin. After spinal cord injury in rats using contusion model, we observed the effect of pregabalin compared to that of the control and the methylprednisolone treated rats.
METHODS: We observed locomotor improvement of paralyzed hindlimb and body weight changes for clinical evaluation and caspase‐3, bcl‐2, and p38MAPK expressions using western blotting. On histopathological analysis, we also evaluated reactive proliferation of glial cells.
RESULTS: We were able to observe pregabalin's effectiveness as a neuroprotector after SCI in terms of the clinical indicators and the laboratory findings. The caspase‐3 and phosphorylated p38 MAPK expressions of the pregabalin group were lower than those of the control group (statistically significant with caspase‐3). Bcl‐2 did not show any significant difference between the control group and the treated groups. On the histopathological analysis, pregabalin treatment demonstrated less proliferation of the microglia and astrocytes. With this animal study, we were able to demonstrate reproducible results of pregabalin's neuroprotection effect. Diminished production of caspase‐3 and phosphorylated p38MAPK and as well as decreased proliferation of astrocytes were seen with the administration of pregabalin.
DISCUSSION: The use of pregabalin might be a possible approach for achieving neuroprotection following central nervous system trauma including spinal cord injury. (cont'd)