The present study aimed to investigate the neuroprotective efficacy of dexmedetomidine in a rat experimental spinal cord injury model. The rats (n = 40) were equally divided into four groups: G1, G2, G3, and G4. Rats in the Cl group underwent a laminectomy only. For the rats in the G2, G3, and G4 groups, spinal cord injury was induced by placing an aneurysm clip extradurally for 60 Sat T10. The rats in G2 did not receive any post-injury treatment. Immediately after trauma was induced, rats in G3 were given methylprednisolone (30 mg/kg) and in G4, dexmedetomidine (10 mu g/kg), both intraperitoneally. The rats were sacrificed under anesthesia 24 hours later and 1.5 cm lengths of injured spinal cord were obtained. Malonyldialdehyde values were significantly increased in G2 compared to G1, G3 and G4 (p < 0.05). The neuronal cell count in G1 was significantly higher than in G2 and G3 (p = 0.0001; p = 0.007). G4 had higher cell counts compared to G2 and G3 (p = 0.0001; p = 0.05). These findings indicated that dexmedetomidine might have neuroprotective effects in spinal cord injury. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.