Methylprednisolone (MP) is an anti-inflammatory drug approved for the treatment of acute spinal cord injuries (SCIs). However, MP administration for SCIs has become a controversial issue while the molecular effects of MP remain unexplored to date. Therefore, delineating the benefits and side effects of MP and determining what MP cannot cure in SCIs at the molecular level are urgent issues. Here, genomic profiles of the spinal cord in rats with and without injury insults, and those with and without MP treatment, were generated at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, and 48 h post-injury. A comprehensive analysis was applied to obtain three distinct classes: side effect of MP (SEMP), com-petence of MP (CPMP), and incapability of MP (ICMP). Functional analysis using these genes suggested that MP exerts its greatest effect at 8~12 h, and the CPMP was reflected in the immune re-sponse, while SEMP suggested aspects of metabolism, such as glycolysis, and ICMP was on neurological system processes in acute SCIs. For the first time, we are able to precisely reveal responsive functions of MP in SCIs at the molecular level and provide useful solutions to avoid complications of MP in SCIs before better therapeutic drugs are available.
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