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Current Molecular Pharmacology


ISSN (Print): 1874-4672
ISSN (Online): 1874-4702

Review Article

Mevalonate Cascade and Small Rho GTPase in Spinal Cord Injury

Author(s): Eftekhar Eftekharpour*, Pandian Nagakannan, Mohamed Ariff Iqbal and Qi Min Chen

Volume 10, Issue 2, 2017

Page: [141 - 151] Pages: 11

DOI: 10.2174/1874467209666160112123322

Price: $65


The mevalonate pathway has been extensively studied for its involvement in cholesterol synthesis. Inhibition of this pathway using statins (3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors; HMGR inhibitors) is the primarily selected method due to its cholesterol-lowering effect, making statins the most commonly used (86-94%) cholesterol-lowering drugs in adults. This pathway has several other by-products that are affected by statins including GTPase molecules (guanine triphosphate-binding kinases), such as Rho/Rho-associated coiled kinase (ROCK) kinases, that are implicated in other diseases, including those of the central nervous system (CNS). These molecules control several aspects of neural cell life including axonal growth, cellular migration, and cell death, and therefore, are of increasing interest in the field of spinal cord injury (SCI).

Limited regeneration capacity of nerve fibers in adult CNS has been considered the main obstacle for finding a SCI cure. Over the past two decades, the identity of inhibitory factors for regeneration has been widely investigated. It is well-established that the Rho/ROCK kinase system is specifically activated by the components of damaged spinal cord tissue, including oligodendrocytes and myelin, as well as extracellular matrix. This has led many groups to hypothesize that statin therapy may in fact enhance the current neurorestorative approaches. In this mini-review, a summary of SCI pathophysiology is discussed and the current literature targeting the regeneration obstacles in SCI are reviewed, with special attention to recent publications of the past decade. In addition, we focus on the current literature involving the use of pharmacological and molecular inhibitors of small GTPase molecules for treatment of neurotrauma. Inhibiting these molecules has been shown to increase neuroprotection, enhance axonal regeneration, and facilitate the implementation of cell replacement therapies. Based upon available literature, the need for clinical trials involving targeted inhibition of GTPase molecules remains strong. Some of these drugs are widely used for other diseases, and therefore re-purposing their application for neurotrauma can be fasttracked. These approaches can potentially modify the inhibitory environment of nervous tissue to allow the spontaneous repair capacity of injured tissue.

Keywords: Cholesterol, HMG-CoA, myelin, NSAIDs, statins, stem cell therapy.

Graphical Abstract

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