3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-6-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-cycloastragenol (astragaloside IV), the main active component of the traditional Chinese medicine astragalus membranaceus, has been shown to be neuroprotective. This study investigated whether astragaloside IV could promote the repair of injured sciatic nerve. Denervated sciatic nerve of mice was subjected to anastomosis. The mice were intraperitoneally injected with 10, 5, 2.5 mg/kg astragaloside IV per day for 8 consecutive days. Western blot assay and real-time PCR results demonstrated that growth-associated protein-43 expression was upregulated in mouse spinal cord segments L4-6 after intervention with 10, 5, 2.5 mg/kg astragaloside IV per day in a dose-dependent manner. Luxol fast blue staining and electrophysiological detection suggested that astragaloside IV elevated the number and diameter of myelinated nerve fibers, and simultaneously increased motor nerve conduction velocity and action potential amplitude in the sciatic nerve of mice. These results indicated that astragaloside IV contributed to sciatic nerve regeneration and functional recovery in mice. The mechanism underlying this effect may be associated with the upregulation of growth-associated protein-43 expression.
Keywords: astragaloside IV; axons; growth-associated protein-43; myelinated nerve; nerve myelin sheath; neural regeneration; neuroregeneration; peripheral nerve injury; sciatic nerve; traditional Chinese medicine.