University of Texas Health Science Center Houston United States
Nearly 70 of males exhibit a profound loss of fertility following spinal cord injury. While the mechanisms underlying this loss have been discussed for decades, our laboratories Grill and Loose discovered that spinal trauma produces a significant loss in integrity of the blood-testis-barrier a protective multi-cellular structure that maintains immune privilege of the highly-antigenic sperm and sperm cell-containing compartments within the testis. We also demonstrated that once failed, the BTB remains permeable, essentially for the life of the subject. The goal of our proposal has been two-fold 1 to develop a greater understanding of the molecular, biochemical and structural pathologies underlying BTB breakdown post-SCI, and 2 to determine whether a novel therapeutic, can help preserve BTB integrity when introduced during the acute phase of SCI using a clinically-relevant rat spinal contusion model. We have found that the drug, licofelone, preserves blood-spinal cord barrier integrity and enhances locomotor function in rats when given early following surgery.