Parallel Evaluation of Two Potassium Channel Blockers in Restoring Conduction in Mechanical Spinal Cord Injury in Rat

Jessica C. Page, Jonghyuck Park, Zhe Chen, Peng Cao, Riyi Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Myelin damage is a hallmark of spinal cord injury (SCI), and potassium channel blocker (PCB) is proven effective to restore axonal conduction and regain neurological function. Aiming to improve this therapy beyond the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), we have developed multiple new PCBs, with 4-aminopyridine-3-methanol (4-AP-3-MeOH) being the most potent and effective. The current study evaluated two PCBs, 4-AP-3-MeOH and 4-AP, in parallel in both ex vivo and in vivo rat mechanical SCI models. Specifically, 4-AP-3-MeOH induced significantly greater augmentation of axonal conduction than 4-AP in both acute and chronic injury. 4-AP-3-MeOH had no negative influence on the electrical responsiveness of rescued axons whereas 4-AP-recruited axons displayed a reduced ability to follow multiple stimuli. In addition, 4-AP-3-MeOH can be applied intraperitoneally at a dose that is at least 5 times higher (5 mg/kg) than that of 4-AP (1 mg/kg) in vivo. Further, 5 mg/kg of 4-AP-3-MeOH significantly improved motor function whereas both 4-AP-3-MeOH (1 and 5 mg/kg) and, to a lesser degree, 4-AP (1 mg/kg) alleviated neuropathic pain-like behavior when applied in rats 2 weeks post-SCI. Based on these and other findings, we conclude that 4-AP-3-MeOH appears to be more advantageous over 4-AP in restoring axonal conduction because of the combination of its higher efficacy in enhancing the amplitude of compound action potential, lesser negative effect on axonal responsiveness to multiple stimuli, and wider therapeutic range in both ex vivo and in vivo application. As a result, 4-AP-3-MeOH has emerged as a strong alternative to 4-AP that can complement the effectiveness, and even partially overcome the shortcomings, of 4-AP in the treatment of neurotrauma and degenerative diseases where myelin damage is implicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1068
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • 4-aminopyridine
  • 4-aminopyridine-3-methanol
  • demyelination
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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