Professor Yune of Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Medicine discovered curative effects on spinal-cord injury from an anti-depressant.
Professor Tae Young Yune of Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Medicine discovered curative effects on spinal-cord injury from an anti-depressant. Professor Yune explained, “the substance Fluoxetine from Prozac, a medicine for depressive disorders, suppresses the destruction of the blood-spinal cord barrier and thus helps in the recovery of motor ability.” This research report is being published in the international science journal Brain in August.
Discovery of curative effects on spinal-cord injury from an anti-depressant
Professor Yune found that Fluoxetine decreases the activity of an enzyme, MMP-9, which destroys the extracellular matrix and causes inflammation. When Fluoxetine reduces MMP-9 activity, damage to the blood-spinal cord lessens, and inflammation and cell-death decrease, leading to fast recovery of motor functions. This can be applied to stroke treatments. Stroke, which is a disorder caused by a sudden blockage or bursting (aneurysm) of a brain blood vessel, shows a similar disease progression with spinal cord injury.
Professor Yune emphasized, “If a patient with an acute stroke receives Fluoxetine along with the routine thrombolytic (blood-thinning) drugs given to these patients, we can improve the side-effect of damaging normal blood vessels which can, in the worst case, cause death.” He said, “this research is the first to show the possibility of using the currently-used anti-depressant Prozac as a treatment for spinal cord injury.” Professor Yune is planning “to participate in clinical trials regarding Prozac’s new functions, which are now under patent considerations in South Korea as its previous patent has expired.”