Neurotoxic or Neuroprotective? Current Controversies in SCI-Induced Autoimmunity

Jonah W. Saltzman, Ricardo A. Battaglino, Helen L. Stott, Leslie R. Morse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Controversy exists regarding the autoimmune response that has been observed following traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). It is not clear if this represents a protective response by the immune system to prevent further tissue damage, a pathological reaction of the immune system to central nervous system antigens released by the injury, or a combination of both. Experimental evidence indicates that B cells produce auto-antibodies following SCI and that the presence of self-reactive antibodies is associated with tissue damage. Conversely, other studies suggest T cell activity at the site of the injury promotes tissue regeneration. Vaccination with dendritic cells exposed to central nervous system antigens dramatically improves recovery of motor function in spinal cord injured rats. Further research is required to determine the nature of post-SCI B cell and T cell responses and to establish efficacy of dendritic cell vaccination therapy in clinical studies. This information is critical for the development of therapies to either suppress or promote immune responses following neurotrauma to improve neurological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-177
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study received support from: the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [R21HD057030 and R21HD057030-02S1], the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases [1R01AR059270-02], and the Department of Education, NIDRR H133N110010.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013, Springer Science + Business Media New York.


  • Autoimmunity
  • B cell
  • Dendritic cell
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • T cell


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