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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2010, Vol. 8 ›› Issue (12): 1174-1179.doi: 10.3736/jcim20101210

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Chinese herbal medicine Yiqi Huayu Recipe on apoptosis of dorsal root ganglion neurons and expression of caspase-3 in rats with lumbar nerve root compression

Le-qin Xu,Xiao-feng Li ,You-wei Zhang,Bing Shu,Qi Shi,Yong-jun Wang,Chong-jian Zhou   

  1. Institute of Spine, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China
  • Received:2010-07-28 Accepted:2010-09-28 Online:2010-12-20 Published:2010-12-15
  • Contact: Chong-jian Zhou E-mail:zhouchongjian@hotmail.com

Objective

To observe the effects of Yiqi Huayu Recipe, a Chinese compound herbal medicine, on apoptosis of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and expression of caspase-3 in rats after lumbar nerve root compression injury.

Methods

A total of 40 male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly allocated into 4 groups: control group, untreated group, Methycobal group and Yiqi Huayu Recipe group. Surgery was performed on rats of untreated group, Methycobal group and Yiqi Huayu Recipe group to place a micro-silica gel on right L4 DRG, while control group received skin and paravertebral muscle incision only. Rats in Methycobal group and Yiqi Huayu Recipe group were given Methycobal by intramuscular injection and Yiqi Huayu Recipe intragastrically respectively. Rats in control group and untreated group received saline intragastrically as equal amount as Yiqi Huayu Recipe group. The compressed nerve roots were harvested at the 10th day after treatment. Apoptosis of DRG neurons was detected by terminal deoxynucleoitidyl transferase-mediated nick-end labeling. Caspase-3 activity and mRNA expression in compressed nerve roots were detected with spectrophotography and real-time polymerase chain reaction respectively.

Results

Apoptosis of DRG neurons was significantly increased in the rat model. The apoptosis index of untreated group was higher than that of control group (P<0.01). Yiqi Huayu Recipe and Methylcobal could reduce the apoptosis of DRG neurons, and both groups showed a lower apoptosis index than untreated group (P<0.01). Caspase-3 activity and its gene expression were significantly increased in untreated group. The levels of caspase-3 activity and its gene expression in untreated group were higher than those in control group (P<0.05 or P<0.01). Yiqi Huayu Recipe and Methylcobal could reduce the overexpression of caspase-3 mRNA, and statistically significant differences were found between the untreated group and Yiqi Huayu Recipe group or Methylcobal group (P<0.01).

Conclusion

Lumbar nerve root compression results in overexpression of caspsae-3 in nerve root tissue and increase of DRG neuron apoptosis. Yiqi Huayu Recipe can inhibit the overexpression of caspase-3 and alleviate the apoptosis of DRG neurons after nerve injury.

Key words: Nerve root injury, Drugs,Chinese herbal, Apoptosis, Caspase-3, Rats

Table 1

Apoptosis index of dorsal root ganglion neurons in different groups"

($\overline{x}$± s)
Group n Apoptosis index
Control 4 7, 49 土3,04
Untreated 4 56,29土5,祁**
YQHYR 4 23, 22 土 5,97
Methycobal 4 25, 21 土4,81

Figure 1

TUNEL staining of dorsal root ganglion neurons in rats of different groups (Fluorescence microscopy, ×400)"

Table 2

Level of caspase-3 activity in nerve root of rats in different groups"

$\overline{x}$±s
Group n Caspase-3 activity
Control 6 51.04±1.47AA
Untreated 6 116. 61±6. 78
YQHYR 6 53. 52±2. 95AA
Methycobal 6 53.08±2. 39aa

Table 3

Expression of caspsae-3 mRNA in nerve root of rats in different group"

$\overline{x}$±s
Group n Caspase-3 mRNA
Control 6 1.00±0. 00A
Untreated 6 1. 91±0. 19
YQHYR 6 0. 72±0. 04AA
Methycobal 6 0. 71±0. 03aa
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