Partial injury to the spinal cord can propagate itself, sometimes leading to paralysis attributable to degeneration of initially undamaged neurons. We demonstrated recently that autoimmune T cells directed against the CNS antigen myelin basic protein (MBP) reduce degeneration after optic nerve crush injury in rats. Here we show that not only transfer of T cells but also active immunization with MBP promotes recovery from spinal cord injury. Anesthetized adult Lewis rats subjected to spinal cord contusion at T7 or T9, using the New York University impactor, were injected systemically with anti-MBP T cells at the time of contusion or 1 week later. Another group of rats was immunized, 1 week before contusion, with MBP emulsified in incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA). Functional recovery was assessed in a randomized, double-blinded manner, using the open-field behavioral test of Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan. The functional outcom
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