A neuroprotective factor is shown to be present in mammalian serum. This factor is identified by Western blotting to be serum albumin. The serum factor and albumin both protected cultured spinal cord neurons against the toxicity of glutamate. The inability of K252a, a blocker of the high affinity tyrosine kinase receptor for members of the nerve growth factor family, to block the neuroprotective effect of the serum factor established that the serum factor is not a member of the nerve growth factor family. Post-injury injection of albumin intravenously or into the site of injury immediately after injury both improved significantly locomotor function according to Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan assessment and spontaneous locomotor activity recorded with a photobeam activity system. Albumin has multiple mechanisms whereby it may be neuroprotective, and it is a potentially useful agent for treating neurotraumas.
- Spinal cord injury
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