Age as a determinant of inflammatory response and survival of glia and axons after human traumatic spinal cord injury

Julio C. Furlan, Yang Liu, W. Dalton Dietrich, Michael D. Norenberg, Michael G. Fehlings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the shift in the demographics of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) with increased proportion of injuries in the elderly, little is known on the potential effects of old age on the pathobiology of SCI. Since there is an assumption that age adversely affects neural response to SCI, this study examines the clinically relevant question on whether age is a key determinant of inflammatory response, oligodendroglial apoptosis and axonal survival after traumatic SCI. This unique study includes post-mortem spinal cord tissue from 64 cases of SCI (at cervical or high-thoracic levels) and 38 control cases without CNS injury. Each group was subdivided into subgroups of younger and elderly individuals (65 years of age or older at the SCI onset). The results of this study indicate that age at the SCI onset does not adversely affect the cellular inflammatory response to, oligodendroglial apoptosis and axonal survival after SCI. These results support the conclusion that elderly individuals have similar neurobiological responses to SCI as younger people and, hence, treatment decisions should be based on an assessment of the individual patient and not an arbitrary assumption that “advanced age” should exclude patients with an acute SCI from access to advanced care and translational therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113401
JournalExperimental neurology
Volume332
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Age
  • Aging
  • Apoptosis
  • Axonal survival
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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