Does being female provide a neuroprotective advantage following spinal cord injury?

Jeffrey P. Datto, Jackie Yang, W. Dalton Dietrich, Damien D. Pearse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


It has been controversial whether gender has any effect on recovery following spinal cord injury (SCI). Past experimental and clinical research aimed at addressing this subject has led to constrasting findings on whether females hold any advantage in locomotor recovery. Additionally, for studies supporting the notion of a female gender related advantage, a definite cause has not been explained. In a recent study, using large sample sizes for comparative male and female spinal cord injury cohorts, we reported that a significant gender advantage favoring females existed in both tissue preservation and functional recovery after taking into consideration discrepancies in age and weight of the animals across sexes. Prior animal research frequently used sample sizes that were too small to determine significance with certainty and also did not account for two other factors that influence locomotor performance: age and weight. Our finding is important in light of controversy surrounding the effect of gender on outcome and the fact that SCI affects more than ten thousand new individuals annually, a population that is disproportionately male. By deepening our understanding of why a gender advantage exists, potential new therapeutics can be designed to improve recovery for the male population following the initial trauma or putatively augment the neuroprotective privilege in females for enhanced outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1533-1536
Number of pages4
JournalNeural Regeneration Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 30 2015


  • Apoptosis
  • Estrogen
  • Gender
  • Hormone
  • Neuroprotection
  • Progesterone
  • Schwann cell
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience


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