BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to compare the anti-inflammatory response of methylprednisolone and the alpha2-agonist dexmedetomidine in spinal cord injury (SCI). METHODS: Twenty-four male adult Wistar albino rats, weight 200-250 g, were included in the study. The rats were divided into four groups as follows: the control group (n: 6) received only laminectomy; the SCI group (n: 6) with trauma alone; the SCI+methylprednisolone group (n: 6) with trauma and 30 mg/kg methylprednisolone, followed by a maintenance dose of 5.4 mg/kg/h; and the SCI+dexmedetomidine group (n: 6) with trauma and 10 microg/kg dexmedetomidine treatment intraperitoneally. Twenty-four hours after the trauma, spinal cord samples were taken for histopathological examination and serum samples were collected for interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha measurement. RESULTS: TNF-alpha (P=0.009) and IL-6 (P=0.009) levels were significantly increased in the SCI group. TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels were significantly decreased with methylprednisolone (P=0.002, 0.002) and dexmedetomidine (P=0.002, 0.009) treatment, respectively. Methylprednisolone and dexmedetomidine treatment reduced neutrophils' infiltration in SCI. CONCLUSIONS: The current study does not clarify the definitive mechanism by which dexmedetomidine decreases inflammatory cytokines but it is the first study to report the anti-inflammatory effect of dexmedetomidine in SCI. Further studies are required to elucidate the effects of dexmedetomidine on the inflammatory response.
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