Mitochondrial-based therapeutics for the treatment of spinal cord injury: Mitochondrial biogenesis as a potential pharmacological target

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54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is characterized by an initial trauma followed by a progressive cascade of damage referred to as secondary injury. A hallmark of secondary injury is vascular disruption leading to vasoconstriction and decreased oxygen delivery, which directly reduces the ability of mitochondria to maintain homeostasis and leads to loss of ATP-dependent cellular functions, calcium overload, excitotoxicity, and oxidative stress, further exacerbating injury. Restoration of mitochondria dysfunction during the acute phases of secondary injury after SCI represents a potentially effective therapeutic strategy. This review discusses the past and present pharmacological options for the treatment of SCI as well as current research on mitochondria-targeted approaches. Increased antioxidant activity, inhibition of the mitochondrial permeability transition, alternate energy sources, and manipulation of mitochondrial morphology are among the strategies under investigation. Unfortunately, many of these tactics address single aspects of mitochondrial dysfunction, ultimately proving largely ineffective. Therefore, this review also examines the unexplored therapeutic efficacy of pharmacological enhancement of mitochondrial biogenesis, which has the potential to more comprehensively improve mitochondrial function after SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-313
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume363
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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