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J Neurotrauma. 2013 Jun 15;30(12):1023-34. doi: 10.1089/neu.2012.2729.

Acute delivery of EphA4-Fc improves functional recovery after contusive spinal cord injury in rats.

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Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Blocking the action of inhibitory molecules at sites of central nervous system injury has been proposed as a strategy to promote axonal regeneration and functional recovery. We have previously shown that genetic deletion or competitive antagonism of EphA4 receptor activity promotes axonal regeneration and functional recovery in a mouse model of lateral hemisection spinal cord injury. Here we have assessed the effect of blocking EphA4 activation using the competitive antagonist EphA4-Fc in a rat model of thoracic contusive spinal cord injury. Using a ledged tapered balance beam and open-field testing, we observed significant improvements in recovery of locomotor function after EphA4-Fc treatment. Consistent with functional improvement, using high-resolution ex vivo magnetic resonance imaging at 16.4T, we found that rats treated with EphA4-Fc had a significantly increased cross-sectional area of the dorsal funiculus caudal to the injury epicenter compared with controls. Our findings indicate that EphA4-Fc promotes functional recovery following contusive spinal cord injury and provides further support for the therapeutic benefit of treatment with the competitive antagonist in acute cases of spinal cord injury.

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