Nicotine attenuates oxidative stress, activation of redox-regulated transcription factors and induction of proinflammatory genes in compressive spinal cord trauma

R. Ravikumar, Govinder Flora, James W. Geddes, Bernhard Hennig, Michal J Toborek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Pathophysiology of neurodegeneration following spinal cord injury (SCI) involves alterations of cellular redox status, activation of transcription factors and induction of proinflammatory genes. In addition, recent evidence indicates that nicotine can induce potent neuroprotective effects. To study the influence of nicotine on the redox signaling pathways in relationship to SCI, moderate contusions of spinal cords at the level of T-10 were induced in rats treated or untreated with nicotine. Cellular oxidative stress, DNA binding activity of redox-responsive transcription factors (AP-1, NF-κB and CREB) as well as mRNA levels of inflammatory genes (MCP-1 and TNF-α) were determined in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spinal cords. Nicotine was administrated 2 h after the SCI in a single i.p. injection at the dose of 0.35, 3.5 or 7 mg/kg, and rats were sacrificed 3 h following such an injection. Spinal cord trauma was associated with a significant increase in oxidative stress, and activation of NF-κB, AP-1 and CREB, as well as overexpression of MCP-1 and TNF-α in both the thoracic and lumbar regions. Nicotine administration following the SCI markedly attenuated, especially in the lumbar region, these oxidative and proinflammatory responses. These protective effects of nicotine were fully reversed by inhibition of neuronal nicotinic receptors by mecamylamine. The present results indicate that nicotine administration can attenuate the oxidative injury to spinal cords and suggest that neuronal nicotinic receptors can be attractive targets for neuroprotective therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 19 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Chemokines
  • CREB
  • Cytokines
  • NF-κB, AP-1
  • Nicotine
  • Oxidative stress
  • Signal transduction: gene expression
  • Trauma, spinal cord and brainstem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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