Rapid Head Injury Treatment : Polyethylene Glycol
Polyethylene glycol (PEG; 2000 MW, 30% by volume) has been shown to mechanically repair damaged cellular membranes and reduce secondary axotomy after traumatic brain and spinal cord injury (TBI and SCI respectively). This repair is achieved following spontaneous reassembly of cell membranes made possible by the action of targeted hydrophilic polymers which first seal the compromised portion of the plasmalemma, and secondarily, allow the lipidic core of the compromised membranes to resolve into each other. _SourcePolyethylene Glycol (PEG) is a group of multi-use polymers of ethylene glycol, classified by molecular weight. Recently, PEG has achieved increasing use in pharmacology via the "PEGylation" process of attaching PEG to a pharmacologic agent to modify its retention time and binding properties to membranes and receptors. PEG also recently made the news as an experimental nano-cage (via Speculist via Will Brown) to hold hemoglobin as a form of artificial blood.
Now it has been discovered that injection of PEG 2000 MW, 30% by volume, if injected early after brain and spinal cord injury, can reduce long term neurologic deficits.
Treated animals received a single subcutaneous injection of PEG. When treated within 2 hours of the injury, injured PEG-treated rats showed statistically significant improvement in their exploratory behavior recorded in the activity box when compared to untreated but brain-injured controls.Closed head injury and spinal injury are common occurrences in developed societies, most commonly from motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. Given the apparent safety and ease of a single subcutaneous injection of PEG, this treatment should considered for approval for use by first responders/EMS, emergency ward physicians, and sports event physicians and paramedics.
A delay of 4 hours reduced this level of achievement, but a statistically significant improvement due to PEG injection was still clearly evident in most outcome measures compared at the various evaluation times. A further delay of 2 more hours, however, eradicated the beneficial effects of PEG injection as revealed using this behavioral assessment.
Thus, there appears to be a critical window of time in which PEG administration after TBI can provide neuroprotection resulting in an enhanced functional recovery. As is often seen in clinically applied acute treatments for trauma, the earlier the intervention can be applied, the better the outcome. __7thSpace
Author: Andrew O Koob, Julia M Colby and Richard B Borgens
Credits/Source: Journal of Biological Engineering 2008, 2:9