Coadministration of methylprednisolone with hypertonic saline solution improves overall neurological function and survival rates in a chronic model of spinal cord injury

Jeffrey J. Legos, Kurt R. Gritman, Ronald F. Tuma, William F. Young, Charles J. Hodge, M. Ross Bullock, Richard G. Fessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We previously demonstrated that administration of 7.5% hypertonic saline (HS) significantly improved spinal cord blood flow and neurological outcomes after spinal cord injury. The aim of this study was to determine whether hypertonicity would enhance the effects of methylprednisolone (MP), further improving neurological function. METHODS: Rat spinal cords were compressed for 10 minutes with 50 g of weight, and neurological function was assessed for 28 days, using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan locomotor rating scale. The control group received an intravenous injection of isotonic saline (IS) (5 ml/kg). Group 1 received an intravenous injection of 7.5% HS (5 ml/kg). Group 2 received an intravenous injection of MP (30 mg/kg) and IS (5 ml/kg). Group 3 received an intravenous injection of MP (30 mg/kg) administered with 7.5% HS (5 ml/kg). RESULTS: At 24 hours after spinal cord injury, the combination of MP plus HS provided significant (P < 0.01) neurological improvements, compared with all other treatment groups. At 10 days after injury, the animals that had received MP plus HS exhibited significantly (P < 0.01) higher Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan scores, compared with the MP plus IS and control groups. The median survival time was significantly (P < 0.01) increased for the MP plus HS group (28 d), compared with the MP plus IS group (16 d). Because of the dramatic decrease in survival rates at 28 days after injury, there was a significant (P < 0.01) difference in neurological function only between the MP plus HS group and the control group. CONCLUSION: The results indicate that the administration of HS may enhance the delivery of MP and prevent immunosuppression, leading to improvements in overall neurological function and survival rates after spinal cord injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1433
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Blood flow
  • Hypertonic saline
  • Leukocytes
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Neurological outcome
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery

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