Rapamycin, which is used to help suppress the immune system after an organ transplant procedure, may help reduce tissue damage and neuropathic pain after a spinal cord injury (SCI).

The study, published recently in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, was performed at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan.

Prior research from the team suggests that rapamycin can help reduce nerve damage and locomotor impairment after SCI.

In this most recent study, the researchers tested whether rapamycin can also help reduce neuropathic pain, which is a state of chronic pain resulting from injury to the nervous system.

Using a mouse model of thoracic spinal cord contusion injury, the researchers divided the mice into rapamycin-treated and control groups. Rapamycin treatment 4 hours after spinal cord injury significantly improved locomotor function and reduced mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity in the hindpaws. Close examination of the mechanisms involved revealed that treatment decreased the activity of various pathways involved in pain, explains a media release from Wiley.

[Source(s): Wiley, Science Daily]