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Accession No.:


Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):

, 32, 1, 7-17


Background: There is a need to identify reliable biomarkers of spinal cord injury recovery for clinical practice and clinical trials.

Objective: Our objective was to correlate serum albumin levels with spinal cord injury neurological outcomes.

Methods: We performed a secondary analysis of patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (n = 591) participating in the Sygen clinical trial. Serum albumin concentrations were obtained as part of routine blood chemistry analysis, at trial entry (24-72 hours), 1, 2, and 4 weeks after injury. The primary outcomes were "marked recovery" and lower extremity motor scores, derived from the International Standards for the Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury. Data were analyzed with multivariable logistic and linear regression to adjust for potential confounders.

Results: Serum albumin was significantly associated with spinal cord injury neurological outcomes. Higher serum albumin concentrations at 1, 2, and 4 weeks were associated with higher 52-week lower extremity motor score. Similarly, the odds of achieving "marked neurological recovery" was greater for individuals with higher serum albumin concentrations. The association between serum albumin concentrations and neurological outcomes was independent of initial injury severity, treatment with GM-1, and polytrauma.

Conclusions: In spinal cord injury, serum albumin is an independent marker of long-term neurological outcomes. Serum albumin could serve as a feasible biomarker for prognosis at the time of injury and stratification in clinical trials.


Bobo Tong, Catherine R Jutzeler, Jacquelyn J Cragg, Lukas Grassner, Jan M Schwab, Steve Casha, Fred Geisler, John L K Kramer

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