NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – In an animal model of spinal cord injury, rapid recovery of somatosensory evoked potential conduction and the cutaneous trunci muscle reflex occurs after subcutaneous administration of polyethylene glycol.
Drs. Richard B. Borgens and Debra Bohnert from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, induced crushing spinal cord injuries in 20 adult guinea pigs under anesthesia. Ten guinea pigs received a single subcutaneous injection of polyethylene glycol while the remaining animals formed a control group.
The researchers recorded neurologic status at 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks after injury, according to their report in the December 15th issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research.
During 1 month of observation, all the animals that received polyethylene glycol recovered somatosensory evoked potential conduction while none of the control animals did so (p = 0.001), Drs. Borgens and Bohnert found.
Cutaneous trunci muscle reflex was restored within 24 hours in three of the guinea pigs that received polyethylene glycol. Three more animals had restored reflex within 1 week, and another animal by the second week. None of the control animals had spontaneous cutaneous trunci muscle reflex recovery during the month, the investigators note.
"These data suggest that parenterally administered polyethylene glycol may be a novel treatment for not only spinal cord injury, but head injury and stroke as well," Drs. Borgens and Bohnert conclude. "This leads us to believe that polyethylene (and related polymers) may indeed be a promising treatment for some types of severe neurotrauma, where administration through the IV fluids might even be initiated at the site of emergency medical care."
J Neurosci Res 2001;66:1179-1186.