SCoBIRC FACULTY FOCUS
Alexander G. Rabchevsky
Alexander ‘Sasha’ Rabchevsky is currently an Associate Professor of Physiology at the University Kentucky and is a core faculty member of the Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC). Sasha is, himself, paralyzed from the chest down as the result of a motorcycle accident in 1985 which fractured his thoracic vertebrae rendering him a complete T5 paraplegic. In 1990 he entered the University of Florida Neuroscience program where he defended his doctoral thesis in the spring of 1995. Afterwards, he moved to France to begin his first 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Paris, XII in INSERM Unite 421 studying neuroimmunology. Since 1997, he has been based in Lexington at the University of Kentucky where he has been investigating multiple therapeutic approaches for spinal cord injury (SCI). His major research focuses are to alleviate both hind limb locomotion and/or autonomic dysfunction following SCI in rats employing gene therapy with recombinant viral vectors that integrate into host spinal cord cells to express different growth factors or inhibitory molecules. Such techniques are being used to manipulate and elucidate the abnormal post-traumatic intraspinal neural circuitry that contributes to the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia. This is a potentially life-threatening hypertensive syndrome after SCI at thoracic vertebra level T6 or higher which Dr. Rabchevsky - like many other people - experience on a daily basis when triggered by noxious sensations below the injury level, such as during distension of the bowel or bladder. With this fundamental information, Dr. Rabchevsky hopes to form the basis for the development of potential pharmacological treatments in the clinic to improve the ‘quality of life’ for individuals with SCI. In addition, his lab is employing molecular biological and biochemical analyses to characterize the sequential pattern of compromised bioenergetics (damage) of mitochondria after contusion SCI to establish therapeutic windows for targeting mitochondria with pharmacological interventions to maintain their integrity and minimize secondary tissue damage for enhancing functional recovery.
Dr. Rabchevsky’s work is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Kentucky Spinal Cord & Head Injury Research Trust.
Relevant Recent Publications Include:
Cameron A.A., Smith G.M., Randall D.C., Brown D.R. and Rabchevsky A.G. (2006) Genetic manipulation of intraspinal plasticity after spinal cord injury alters the severity of autonomic dysreflexia. J. Neuroscience 26(11): 2923-2932.
Rabchevsky A.G., Sullivan P.G. and Scheff S.W. (2007) Temporal-spatial dynamics in oligodendrocyte and glial progenitor cell numbers throughout ventrolateral white matter following contusion spinal cord injury. Glia 55(8): 831-843.
Sullivan P.G., Krishnamurthy S., Patel S.P., Pandya J.D. and Rabchevsky A.G. (2007) Temporal characterization of mitochondrial bioenergetics after spinal cord injury. J. Neurotrauma 24(6): 991-999.
Hou S.P., Duale H., Cameron A.A., Abshire S.M., Lyttle T.S. and Rabchevsky A.G. (2008) Plasticity of lumbosacral propriospinal neurons is associated with the development of autonomic dysreflexia after thoracic spinal cord transection. J. Comp. Neurol. 509(4): 382-399.
Patel S.P., Pandya J.D., Sullivan P.G. and Rabchevsky A.G. (2009) Effects of mitochondrial uncoupling agent, 2,4-dinitrophenol, or nitroxide antioxidant, tempol, on mitochondrial integrity following acute contusion spinal cord injury. J. Neurosci. Res. 87(1):130-140.
Duale H., Hou S.P., Derbenev A.V., Smith B.N. and Rabchevsky A.G. (2009) Spinal cord injury reduces the efficacy of pseudorabies virus labeling of sympathetic preganglionic neurons. J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol. 68(2):168-178.
Hou S.P., Duale H. and Rabchevsky A.G. (2009) Intraspinal sprouting of unmyelinated pelvic afferents after complete spinal cord injury is correlated with autonomic dysreflexia induced by visceral pain. Neuroscience 159: 369-379.