Improved Functional Recovery With Oxandrolone After Spinal Cord Injury in Rats

Neuroreport. 2009 Jun 17;20(9):864-8. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832c5cc2.


At present, only the corticosteroid, methylprednisolone, is used for acute spinal cord injury to improve function. However, improvements are modest, and are associated with myopathy and immunosuppression so that alternative treatments are needed. Oxandrolone is an androgenic steroid with potential neuroprotective properties that is used to prevent muscle loss and is not immunosuppressive. Oxandrolone increased locomotor recovery concomitant with reduced loss of cord tissue in a standard weight drop model of spinal cord contusion injury indicating oxandrolone as a possible alternative to methylprednisolone. Oxandrolone also increased axonal sprouting within the ventral horns distal to the injury consistent with formation of relay circuits mediating locomotor recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Growth Cones / drug effects
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / drug effects
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Oxandrolone / pharmacology*
  • Oxandrolone / therapeutic use
  • Paraparesis / drug therapy
  • Paraparesis / etiology
  • Paraparesis / physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Oxandrolone