A new study has pointed out the possible positive effects of an intravenous injection of a potent enzyme on recovery from spinal cord injuries.
Researchers say that if this intravenous injection is administered just hours after an accident, it has the potential to diminish a cascade of pathological events responsible for neuronal death, such as inflammation and scarring. The findings of the study by Tel Aviv University researchers has been published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
Researchers developed the “blood glutamate scavenging approach,” a treatment based on controlling the levels of glutamate, the most abundant free amino acid in the central nervous system. Glutamate accounts for approximately 60 percent of total neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
According to the research, neurotrauma produces the immediate elevation of extracellular glutamate levels, which leads to inflammation, scar formation and, consequentially, neuronal death. The new treatment aims to lower levels of glutamate, which is released in toxic quantities after trauma, by intravenous administration of blood glutamate scavengers (BGS), such as recombinant enzyme glutamate?oxaloacetate transaminase (rGOT1) and its co?substrate.
Scientists point out that if they managed to reduce the amount of glutamate that is released initially, it is possible to moderate the inflammation and scarring, thereby moderating the damage to the tissue and enabling neuronal cells to survive.
The research team studied the neuroprotective effect of the blood glutamate scavengers in mouse models of spinal cord injury. After receiving the treatment for five consecutive days, the mice significantly recovered from the injury.