Potential adverse effects of cyclosporin A on kidneys after spinal cord injury

Spinal Cord. 2011 Mar;49(3):472-9. doi: 10.1038/sc.2010.117. Epub 2010 Sep 14.


Study design: Cell transplantation strategies are gaining increasing interest for spinal cord injury (SCI) with the objective of promoting spinal cord repair. To avoid allogenic graft rejection, an adequate immune suppression is required, and one of the most potent and commonly used immunosuppressives is cyclosporin A (CsA). In SCI, permanent sensory motor loss is combined with modifications of drug absorption, distribution and elimination.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to thoroughly explore histological and functional outcomes of CsA treatment in a rat model of spinal cord compression.

Setting: Experiments were carried out at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (France), the Integrative Biology of Neurodegeneration Laboratory (Spain) and in the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (Switzerland) for CsA blood concentration determination.

Methods: We first evaluated histological outcomes of CsA treatment on kidneys and spinal cord after SCI. We then investigated whether SCI modified CsA blood concentration. Finally, using behavioral analysis, we assessed the potential CsA impact on functional recovery.

Results: When spinal-cord-injured rats were treated with a CsA dose of 10 mg kg(-1) per day, we observed deleterious effects on kidneys, associated with modifications of CsA blood concentration. Adding an antibiotic treatment reduced kidney alteration without modifying CsA blood concentration. Finally, we showed that CsA treatment per se modified neither functional recovery nor lesion extension.

Conclusion: This study pinpoints the absolute requirement of careful CsA monitoring in the clinical setting for patients with SCI to minimize potential unexpected effects and avoid therapeutic failure.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Cyclosporine / blood
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporine / toxicity*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy*
  • Graft Rejection / physiopathology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / blood
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / toxicity
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine