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J Neurotrauma. 1999 Sep;16(9):817-30.

Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) enhances tissue sparing and functional recovery following moderate spinal cord injury.

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  • 1Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0230, USA.


The rapid increase in basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) production following spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats is thought to serve a role in the cellular processes responsible for the functional recovery often observed. In this study, bFGF was intrathecally administered continuously for 1 week beginning 30 min after a moderate (12.5 mm) spinal cord contusion in adult rats using the New York University impactor device. Osmotic minipumps were implanted into the lateral ventricle and lumbar thecal sac to deliver bFGF at a rate of 3 microg or 6 microg per day versus control vehicle. Animals were behaviorally tested for 6 weeks using the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan locomotor rating scale and histologically assessed for both tissue sparing and glial reactivity rostral and caudal to the lesion. Rats treated with bFGF regained coordinated hindlimb movements earlier than controls and demonstrated consistent coordination from 4 to 6 weeks. Vehicle-treated rats showed only modest improvements in hindlimb function. The amount of spared tissue was significantly higher in bFGF-treated rats than in controls. Astrocyte and microglial reactivity was more pronounced in bFGF-treated animals versus controls. In summary, intrathecal infusion of exogenous bFGF following SCI significantly reduces tissue damage and enhances functional recovery. Early pharmacological intervention with bFGF following SCI may serve a neuroprotective role and/or create a proregenerative environment, possibly by modulating the neuroglial response.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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