Systemic inflammation and reduced pulmonary function in chronic spinal cord injury

Eric Garshick, Kelly L. Stolzmann, David R. Gagnon, Leslie R. Morse, Robert Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the relationship between systemic inflammation and pulmonary function in persons with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Participants: Fifty-nine men with chronic SCI participating in a prior epidemiologic study. Methods: Standardized assessment of pulmonary function and measurement of plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Main Outcome Measurements: Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC). Results: Persons with the highest values of IL-6 had the lowest %-predicted FEV1 and FVC. There was a significant inverse linear trend between quartile of IL-6 and %-predicted FEV1 (P < .001) and FVC (P < .006), unadjusted and adjusted for SCI level and completeness of injury, obstructive lung disease history, smoking, and body mass index (P = .010-039). Although not as strong as for IL-6, there also were similar trends for %-predicted FEV1 and FVC with CRP. Conclusions: In chronic SCI, higher levels of IL-6 and CRP were associated with a lower FEV1 and FVC, independent of level and completeness of injury. These results suggest that the reduction of pulmonary function after SCI is related not only to neuromuscular impairment but also to factors that promote systemic inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalPM and R
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research Support: Office of Research and Development, Rehabilitation Research and Development (Merit Review Grant B6618R ) and Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center, Cooperative Studies Program, Department of Veterans Affairs; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (RO1 HD042141). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the Department of Veterans Affairs.


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