Effect of naloxone on posttraumatic ischemia in experimental spinal contusion

W. Young, E. S. Flamm, H. B. Demopoulos, J. J. Tomasula, V. DeCrescito

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152 Scopus citations


The effect of naloxone on blood flow and somatosensory evoked potentials was studied in cats subjected to 400 gm-cm contusion injuries of the thoracic spinal cord. Eight cats were treated with 10 mg/kg naloxone 45 to 60 minutes after injury, 11 cats were given 10 ml of saline instead of naloxone, and six cats were neither injured nor treated. Hydrogen clearance was used to measure blood flow in the lateral white columns at the contusion site. Naloxone, given intravenously, significantly improved the blood flow rates in the lateral column white matter. At 2 hours after injury, the mean blood flow in the saline-treated cats fell to 50% (p<0.01) of preinjury flow rates, whereas it increased 6% (p>0.50) in naloxone-treated cats, and 12% (p>0.50) in uninjured cats. At the 3rd hour after injury, the respective flows fell 47% (p<0.01), and 6% (p>0.50), and increased 15% (p>0.50) of the preinjury flow rates. The naloxone-treated cats had striking preservation of sensory function and somatosensory evoked potentials at 24 hours after injury. At 24 hours, responses had returned in all the naloxone-treated cats and in only 11% of the saline-treated cats. The probability of this combination of events occurring by chance is 0.0030. The authors conclude that naloxone may be useful for the treatment of spinal cord injury. The mechanism of the effect is unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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