Spinal cord injury (SCI) caused by trauma or disease leads to motor and sensory abnormalities that depend on the level, severity and duration of the lesion. The most obvious consequence of SCI is paralysis affecting lower and upper limbs. SCI also leads to loss of bladder and bowel control, both of which have a deleterious, life-long impact on the social, psychological, functional, medical and economic well being of affected individuals. Currently, there is neither a cure for SCI nor is there adequate management of its consequences. Although medications provide symptomatic relief for the complications of SCI including muscle spasms, lower urinary tract dysfunction and hyperreflexic bowel, strategies for repair of spinal injuries and recovery of normal limb and organ function are still to be realized. In this review, we discuss experimental evidence supporting the use of the naturally occurring purine nucleoside inosine to improve the devastating sequelae of SCI. Evidence suggests inosine is a safe, novel agent with multifunctional properties that is effective in treating complications of SCI and other neuropathies.

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