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Nanofiber Scaffolds as Drug Delivery Systems to Bridge Spinal Cord Injury
Open AccessArticle

Systemic Interleukin-4 Administration after Spinal Cord Injury Modulates Inflammation and Promotes Neuroprotection

Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Medicine, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
ICVS/3B’s—PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimaraes, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmaceuticals 2017, 10(4), 83;
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 22 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tissue-Protective Agents: New Drugs and Technologies)
Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) causes dramatic disability and dysfunction in the motor, sensory and autonomic systems. The severe inflammatory reaction that occurs after SCI is strongly associated with further tissue damage. As such, immunomodulatory strategies have been developed, aimed at reducing inflammation, but also at shaping the immune response in order to protect, repair and promote regeneration of spared neural tissue. One of those promising strategies is the intraspinal administration of the cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4) that was shown to promote a phenotype on specific immune cells associated with neuroprotection and repair. In this work, we evaluated if a systemic delivery of IL-4 for a 7-days period was also capable of promoting neuroprotection after SCI by analyzing different neural cells populations and motor recovery. IL-4 treatment promoted an elevation of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in the serum both at 24 h and 7 days after injury. Locally, treatment with IL-4 led to a reduction on cells expressing markers associated with inflammation, CD11b/c and iNOS. Importantly, IL-4 treatment increased the neuronal markers βIII-tubulin and NeuN, and the oligodendrocyte marker O4, suggesting a neuroprotective effect. Moreover, 100% of the animals treated with IL-4 were able to recover weight support against only 33% of saline treated animals. Overall, these results show that systemic administration of IL-4 positively impacts different aspects of spinal cord injury, creating a more favorable environment for recovery to take place. View Full-Text
Keywords: spinal cord injury; neuroprotection; immunomodulation; Interleukin-4; neuroimmunology spinal cord injury; neuroprotection; immunomodulation; Interleukin-4; neuroimmunology
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Lima, R.; Monteiro, S.; Lopes, J.P.; Barradas, P.; Vasconcelos, N.L.; Gomes, E.D.; Assunção-Silva, R.C.; Teixeira, F.G.; Morais, M.; Sousa, N.; Salgado, A.J.; Silva, N.A. Systemic Interleukin-4 Administration after Spinal Cord Injury Modulates Inflammation and Promotes Neuroprotection. Pharmaceuticals 2017, 10, 83.

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