Immunoglobulin G Is Increased in the Injured Spinal Cord in a Sex- and Age-Dependent Manner

Andrew N. Stewart, Ethan P. Glaser, William M. Bailey, John C. Gensel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There are limited studies examining age and sex as biological variables in the pathophysiology of spinal cord injury (SCI). The use of older animals and sex-balanced groups in SCI models is increasingly prioritized to better match clinical demographics. Including older animals in SCI studies is technically challenging, and outcomes are unpredictable with respect to biological and treatment responses. Incidental discoveries that are unrelated to the question under investigation often emerge while including age and sex as biological variables. When probing tissue homogenates on Western blots of 4- and 14-month-old (MO) mice, we identified a sex- and age-dependent increase in immunoglobulin G (IgG) within the spinal cords of older, 14-MO mice acutely after SCI, with females having more IgG compared with males. We further probed to determine whether differences in hemorrhage exist between sexes or ages by evaluating hemoglobin within spinal homogenates. Differences in hemoglobin between sexes and ages were not consistently observed. Because IgG was elevated in an age- and sex-dependent manner without of evidence of differences in hemorrhage, our findings point to potential pre-existing differences in IgG within mouse plasma in an age- and sex-dependent manner. This report has identified age- and sex-dependent differences in infiltrating IgG into the injured spinal cord environment that may affect injury and recovery processes. Our findings highlight that systemic contributions to SCI can be sex- and age-dependent and illustrate the value of reporting incidental discoveries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1090-1098
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number15-16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding support provided by: The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation under award #465079, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Awards: R01NS091582 and F32NS111241, as well as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism training grant T32AA027488, and the University of Kentucky Neuroscience Research Priority Area.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Andrew N. Stewart et al.


  • acute pathology
  • aging
  • secondary injury
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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