If more nerve fibers can be preserved following a spinal cord injury (for example, by reducing the extent of the secondary injury), then there could be improvements in how the heart functions, researchers suggest.

The heart undergoes changes after spinal cord injury, depending on the SCI’s severity, but only a small amount of “sparing” (ie, a small number of nerve fibers preserved), in the spinal cord are necessary for the heart to function at a near normal level, add scientists from University of British Columbia, Canada (UBC).

In their study, published in Experimental Physiology, Dr Christopher West—an assistant professor of Kinesiology at UBC and researcher with the ICORD spinal injury research centre—and colleagues compared two different severities of spinal cord injury in a clinically relevant rodent model, according to a media release from The Physiological Society.

[Source: The Physiological Society]