Object: Extensive research has been focused on neuroprotection after spinal cord trauma to alleviate the effects of secondary injury. This study aims to investigate the neuroprotective effects of gabapentin in an experimental spinal cord ischemia reperfusion injury.
Methods: Thirty-two adult male New Zealand white rabbits received spinal cord ischemic injury using the aortic occlusion model. Animals were divided into 4 groups (sham, control, low-dose, and high-dose treatment groups; 8 rabbits in each group). High (200 mg/kg) and low (30 mg/kg) doses of gabapentin were administered to the animals in the treatment groups after spinal cord ischemic injury. Neurological status of the animals, ultrastructural findings in injured tissue samples, and levels of tissue injury markers in these 2 groups were compared with findings in the animals that did not receive the ischemic procedure (sham-operated group) and those that received normal saline after administration of ischemia.
Results: Regarding levels of tissue injury marker levels after ischemic injury, animals in the gabapentin-treated groups demonstrated better results than animals in the other groups. The ultrastructural findings and caspase-3 activity were similar. The treatment groups demonstrated better results than the other groups.
Conclusions: Gabapentin demonstrated significant neuroprotection after early phases of ischemic injury. Further studies with different experimental settings including neurological outcome are required to achieve conclusive results.