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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2011 Aug;15(8):943-59. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2011.581231.

Targeting the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) in spinal cord injury.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Messina, Gazzi, Italy.



Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) causes severe and permanent functional deficits, due to the primary mechanical insult, followed by secondary tissue degeneration. The direct damage is followed by a second phase of tissue degeneration, which may take place over a period of weeks or even months, causing neuronal and axonal destruction. A key mediator of this process is an acute and robust inflammatory response, which involves the synthesis and release of chemokines and cytokines, and a coordinated recruitment of circulating leucocytes, as well as microglia, from the CNS parenchyma. The search for a 'cure' for SCI has yet to produce a convincingly efficacious treatment that improves the outcome for patients.


This review explores the experimental studies describing the beneficial effects of PPAR receptor modulators in spinal cord trauma.


Because of safety issues and limited data, PPAR agonists are not yet included in SCI-related treatment strategies. PPAR agonists for specific isoforms (α, β/δ and γ) have demonstrated both anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Pharmacological activation of PPAR can be considered as a multi-faceted therapeutic target, due to its anti-inflammatory/antioxidant/anti-excitotoxic/pro-energetic profile, reported in some neurological and inflammatory-related diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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