Image of the Day: Muting Muscle Spasms
Image of the Day: Muting Muscle Spasms

Image of the Day: Muting Muscle Spasms

Nimodipine, a drug used to treat brain hemorrhages, alleviates spasticity in mice after spinal cord injuries.

Amy Schleunes
Apr 16, 2020

ABOVE: Calcium channels, labeled green in sections of the mouse spinal cord, are blocked by nimodipine, which eases muscle spasms following injury.

People with spinal cord injuries often develop muscle spasms that are difficult to treat. After looking into the mechanisms of this post-injury spasticity in mice, the authors of a paper published on April 15 in Science Translational Medicine determined that calcium channels in the spinal cord seem to play a role.

A six-week course of nimodipine, a calcium channel blocker approved to treat brain hemorrhage, administered immediately after mice sustained injuries to their spinal cords prevented muscle spasms. The effects remained even after the treatment ended, suggesting that inhibiting calcium channels may offer a potential way to alleviate one debilitating consequence of spinal cord injuries.

M. Marcantoni et al., “Early delivery and prolonged treatment with nimodipine prevents the development of spasticity after spinal cord injury in mice,” Science Translational Medicine, doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aay0167, 2020.