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Silencing spinal interneurons inhibits immune suppressive autonomic reflexes caused by spinal cord injury.

Journal Article
Ueno M, Ueno-Nakamura Y, Niehaus J, Popovich PG, Yoshida Y.
Year Published: 
Nat Neurosci. 2016 Jun;19(6):784-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.4289. Epub 2016 Apr 18.
PMID: 27089020 | PMCID: PMC4882232 | DOI: 10.1038/nn.4289
Full-Text on Pubmed


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.


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Around the world, between 300,000 and 500,000 people are living with a SCI.