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.
- Neural plasticity
- Spinal cord injury