• Ketamine is a commonly used anesthetic in clinics that is known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anti-apoptotic, and neuroprotective effects.

Neuroprotective effect of ketamine on acute spinal cord injury in rats (2014)

ABSTRACT. The aim of this study was to investigate the neuroprotective effects of ketamine during acute spinal cord injury in rats. Sprague Dawley (SD) rats (N = 70) were randomly divided into three groups: sham-operated (N = 10), control (N = 30), and treatment (N = 30) groups. The moderate spinal cord injury model was established. After injury, the sham-operated group received no drug, the treatment group received intraperitoneal ketamine injections, and the control group received intraperitoneal normal saline injections.

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6 are important cytokines that have a variety of biological effects and are implicated in some diseases. Previous research indicated that, after spinal cord injury, TNF-α and IL-6 levels increased significantly in the cascade of spinal cord injury. Serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and spinal cord malondialdehyde (MDA) were assessed, and nerve cell apoptosis was evaluated in each group at varying time points.

After spinal cord injury, TNF-α, IL-6, and MDA levels, and the number of TUNEL-positive cells among 2500 cells significantly increased (P < 0.05). Further, compared with the control group, the treatment group showed significantly lower TNF-α, IL-6, and MDA levels, and fewer TUNEL-positive cells among 2500 cells at each time point (P < 0.05). Our data indicate that ketamine exerts a neuroprotective effect on injured spinal cord.

Ketamine reduced MDA content in the spinal cord by scavenging oxygen free radicals, downregulated water content in the spinal cord, exerted antiinflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects, thereby alleviating spinal cord injury to achieve neuroprotection.

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