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Silencing spinal interneurons inhibits immune suppressive autonomic reflexes caused by spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) at high spinal levels (e.g., above thoracic level 5) causes systemic immune suppression; however, the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here we show that profound plasticity develops within spinal autonomic circuitry below the injury, creating a sympathetic anti-inflammatory reflex, and that chemogenetic silencing of this reflex circuitry blocks post-SCI immune suppression. These data provide new insights and potential therapeutic options for limiting the devastating consequences of post-traumatic autonomic hyperreflexia and post-injury immune suppression.