Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor Combined with Methylprednisolone Improves Functional Outcomes in Rats with Experimental Acute Spinal Cord Injury
To evaluate the effects of combined treatment with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and methylprednisolone in rats subjected to experimental spinal cord injury.
Forty Wistar rats received a moderate spinal cord injury and were divided into four groups: control (no treatment); G-CSF (G-CSF at the time of injury and daily over the next five days); methylprednisolone (methylprednisolone for 24 h); and G-CSF/Methylprednisolone (methylprednisolone for 24 h and G-CSF at the time of injury and daily over the next five days). Functional evaluation was performed using the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan score on days 2, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42 following injury. Motor-evoked potentials were evaluated. Histological examination of the spinal cord lesion was performed immediately after euthanasia on day 42.
Eight animals were excluded (2 from each group) due to infection, a normal Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan score at their first evaluation, or autophagy, and 32 were evaluated. The combination of methylprednisolone and G-CSF promoted greater functional improvement than methylprednisolone or G-CSF alone (p<0.001). This combination also exhibited a synergistic effect, with improvements in hyperemia and cellular infiltration at the injury site (p<0.001). The groups displayed no neurophysiological differences (latency p=0.85; amplitude p=0.75).
Methylprednisolone plus G-CSF promotes functional and histological improvements superior to those achieved by either of these drugs alone when treating spinal cord contusion injuries in rats. Combining the two drugs did have a synergistic effect.