Study design: Experimental study with mice. Objectives: Spasticity is a common complication after spinal cord injury (SCI) and has detrimental aspects, such as persistent pain and involuntary muscle spasms. This study aimed to assess the influence of antispastic therapy on locomotor function after SCI. Setting: University-based laboratory in Fukuoka, Japan. Methods: A mouse model of spasticity was developed by producing incomplete SCI at the 9th thoracic level. At 8 weeks after SCI, an antispastic drug, baclofen, was intraperitoneally administered to six injured and two sham-operated mice. The severity of spasticity was evaluated by the modified Ashworth scoring (MAS) system, and locomotor function was evaluated by the Basso–Beattie–Bresnahan (BBB) scale/Basso mouse score (BMS). Results: The administration of baclofen significantly improved spasticity in the SCI mice and the mean MAS decreased to from 6.2 to 2.8. However, at the same time, it significantly exacerbated the locomotor dysfunction of the SCI mice and the mean BMS decreased from 4.7 to 2.3. The time-course of the changes in locomotor function coincided with the time-course of the spasticity score. We also confirmed that the administration of baclofen was not associated with any changes in either locomotor function or spasticity of the sham-operated control mice. Conclusions: Our results suggest that spasticity has a certain beneficial effect on ambulation ability. It is important to note that antispastic treatments may be associated with a risk of impairing the preserved function of chronic SCI patients.
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