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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (9): 848-854.doi: 10.3736/jcim20090910

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Qichu Fujin Recipe on regeneration and repair of injured sciatic nerve in rats

Qin Yang , Ya-sheng Zhang   

  1. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the First Peopled Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200080, China
  • Received:2009-05-21 Accepted:2009-07-16 Online:2009-09-20 Published:2009-09-15
  • Contact: Ya-sheng Zhang


To explore the effects of Qichu Fujin Recipe (QCFJR), a compound traditional Chinese medicine, in repairing sciatic nerve injury in rats.

A total of 60 male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into four groups: normal control group, untreated group, mecobalamin group and QCFJR group. Except the normal control group, sciatic nerve injury was induced by crushing of left sciatic nerve. Rats in the mecobalamin group were intragastrically administered with mecobalamin solutions 150 μg/(kg·d), and rats in the QCFJR group were intragastrically administered with QCFJR 35.2 g/(kg·d), while rats in the untreated group were intragastrically administered with normal saline (0.5 mL/d), once a day for 4 weeks respectively. Sciatic function index (SFI) was determined by walking tract analysis 1 week and 2 and 4 weeks after crushing. Five rats in each group were sacrificed for histological observation at the different time points. The remnant rate of gastrocnemius wet weight and the diameter of gastrocnemius cells were calculated. Expression of S-100 protein in the distal stump of injured nerve was observed by using immunohistochemical method. Distal injured sciatic nerves were determined with toluidine blue staining and observed under a light microscope 1 week and 2 and 4 weeks after operation. Diameter of axon and depth of myelin sheath were calculated by an image analysis system. Ultrastructure of nerve fibers was determined with uranyl acetate and lead citrate staining and observed under an electron microscope.

Compared with the normal control group, SFI, remnant rate of gastrocnemius wet weight, diameter of gastrocnemius cells, expression of S-100, diameter of axon and depth of myelin sheath in the mecobalamin group and the QCFJR group were significantly decreased at different time points (P<0.05), superior to those of the untreated group (P<0.05, P<0.01). Except the remnant rate of gastrocnemius wet weight and the diameter of gastrocnemius cells, there were no significant differences in other indexes between the mecobalamin group and the QCFJR group 1 week and 2 and 4 weeks after crushing (P>0.05). Conclusion: QCFJR can stimulate the regeneration and repair of nerve fiber and delay the skeletal muscle atrophy after sciatic nerve injury in rats.

Key words: Qichu Fujin Recipe, Sciatic nerve injury, Nerve regeneration, Muscle atrophy, Rats

Table 1

Sciatic function index in different groups after operation ($\bar{x}$±s)"

Group n SFI
1 week 2 weeks 4 weeks
Normal control 5 –(3.61±2.34) –(5.21±2.24) –(3.45±2.76)
Untreated 5 –(56.17±6.25)** –(46.94±11.64)** –(43.28±5.28)**
Mecobalamin 5 –(53.78±2.18)** –(44.34±6.09)** –(24.68±8.62)**
QCFJR 5 –(47.48±5.85)** –(42.26±13.28)** –(22.31±9.32)**

Figure 1

The tracks of rats in different groups at different time points after operation A:Normal control group; B: Untreated group, 1 week after operation; C: Untreated group, 4 weeks after operation; D: Mecobalamin group, 4 weeks after operation; E: QCFJR group, 4 weeks after operation."

Table 2

Remnant rate of gastrocnemius wet weight in different groups after operation ($\bar{x}$±s, %)"

Group n Remnant rate of gastrocnemius wet weight
1 week 2 weeks 4 weeks
Normal control 5 96.40±2.07 96.40±2.41 96.80±3.11
Untreated 5 67.15±2.50** 46.58±10.05** 36.85±4.63**
Mecobalamin 5 65.83±14.85** 53.69±3.18** 42.90±4.55**
QCFJR 5 71.24±6.83** 54.89±11.17** 49.70±6.89**△▲

Table 3

Diameter of gastrocnemius cells in different groups after operation ($\bar{x}$±s, μm)"

Group n Diameter of gastrocnemius cells
1 week 2 weeks 4 weeks
Normal control 5 198.73±26.13 200.99±39.71 201.56±31.48
Untreated 5 104.21±28.08** 115.46±18.24** 155.27±25.32**
Mecobalamin 5 110.52±19.73** 139.91±27.54** 171.62±29.36**△△
QCFJR 5 122.38±22.69**△△ 145.85±30.59**△△ 190.52±39.12△△▲▲

Figure 2

Expression of S-100 protein in the distal stump of injured nerve in different groups observed by immunohistochemical method (Light microscopy, ×400) A: Normal control group; B: Untreated group at 1 week; C: Mecobalamin group at 1 week; D: QCFJR group at 1 week; E: Untreated group at 2 weeks; F: Mecobalamin group at 2 weeks; G: QCFJR group at 2 weeks; H: Untreated group at 4 weeks; I: Mecobalamin group at 4 weeks; J: QCFJR group at 4 weeks."

Figure 3

Histological changes of the distal stump of injured nerve in different groups 4 weeks after operation observed by toluidine blue staining (Light microscopy, ×400) A: Normal control group; B: Untreated group; C: Mecobalamin group; D: QCFJR group."

Table 4

Diameter of axon and depth of myelin sheath in different groups 4 weeks after operation ($\bar{x}$±s, μm)"

Group n Diameter of axon Depth of myelin sheath
Normal control 5 63.52±65.41 20.37±3.99
Untreated 5 16.25±4.71** 4.63±1.15**
Mecobalamin 5 21.07±5.67** 5.33±1.05**
QCFJR 5 23.87±6.27** 6.02±0.99**△▲

Figure 4

Ultrastructure of the distal stump of injured nerve in different groups 4 weeks after operation (Transmission electron microscopy, ×11 500) A: Normal control group; B: Untreated group; C: Mecobalamin group; D: QCFJR group."

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