Facilitation of immune function, healing of pressure ulcers, and nutritional status in spinal cord injury patients

Exp Mol Pathol. 2000 Feb;68(1):38-54. doi: 10.1006/exmp.1999.2292.


Multiple communicative pathways among nervous, endocrine, and immune systems facilitate physiological immunoregulation. Spinal cord injury (SCI) patients had strikingly decreased natural and adaptive immune responses by 2 weeks post injury. While NK-cell function was decreased, plasma ACTH and urine-free cortisol levels were increased. T cell function and activation were both diminished. With rehabilitation therapy, NK and T function increased; without rehabilitation, NK levels remained depressed. When rehabilitation ceased, NK function decreased. Cervical SCI patients had less NK and T function than thoracic injury patients. SCI patients also had reduced levels of cellular adhesion molecules (CAMs) that participate in immune function and wound healing. SCI patients with pressure ulcers were compared to those without pressure ulcers. LFA-1, VLA-4, and other surface markers were decreased on the lymphocytes of all SCI patients. SCI patients with pressure ulcers had lower CAM levels than did patients without pressure ulcers. Nutritional status was determined by zinc, albumin, and prealbumin levels. SCI patients had decreased albumin levels. Those with pressure ulcers had decreased prealbumin levels and zinc levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hydrocortisone / urine
  • Immunity, Cellular / physiology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / physiology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prealbumin / analysis
  • Pressure Ulcer / immunology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / immunology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / immunology*
  • Zinc / blood


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Prealbumin
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Serum Albumin
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Creatinine
  • Zinc
  • Hydrocortisone