The receptor-interacting protein kinase 3 (RIPK3) is a key regulator of necroptosis and is involved in various pathologies of human diseases. We previously reported that RIPK3 expression is upregulated in various neural cells at the lesions and necroptosis contributed to secondary neural tissue damage after spinal cord injury (SCI). Interestingly, recent studies have shown that the B-RAFV600E inhibitor dabrafenib has a function to selectively inhibit RIPK3 and prevents necroptosis in various disease models. In the present study, using a mouse model of thoracic spinal cord contusion injury, we demonstrate that dabrafenib administration in the acute phase significantly inhibites RIPK3-mediated necroptosis in the injured spinal cord. The administration of dabrafenib attenuated secondary neural tissue damage, such as demyelination, neuronal loss, and axonal damage, following SCI. Importantly, the neuroprotective effect of dabrafenib dramatically improved the recovery of locomotor and sensory functions after SCI. Furthermore, the electrophysiological assessment of the injured spinal cord objectively confirmed that the functional recovery was enhanced by dabrafenib. These findings suggest that the B-RAFV600E inhibitor dabrafenib attenuates RIPK3-mediated necroptosis to provide a neuroprotective effect and promotes functional recovery after SCI. The administration of dabrafenib may be a novel therapeutic strategy for treating patients with SCI in the future.
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