Fluoxetine treatment promotes functional recovery in a rat model of cervical spinal cord injury

Sci Rep. 2013;3:2217. doi: 10.1038/srep02217.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a severe condition leading to enduring motor deficits. When lesions are incomplete, promoting spinal cord plasticity might be a useful strategy to elicit functional recovery. Here we investigated whether long-term fluoxetine administration in the drinking water, a treatment recently demonstrated to optimize brain plasticity in several pathological conditions, promotes motor recovery in rats that received a C4 dorsal funiculus crush. We show that fluoxetine administration markedly improved motor functions compared to controls in several behavioral paradigms. The improved functional effects correlated positively with significant sprouting of intact corticospinal fibers and a modulation of the excitation/inhibition balance. Our results suggest a potential application of fluoxetine treatment as a non invasive therapeutic strategy for SCI-associated neuropathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fluoxetine / administration & dosage
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology*
  • Gait / drug effects
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Cortex / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy*
  • Time Factors


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine