Saikosaponin a increases interleukin-10 expression and inhibits scar formation after sciatic nerve injury.
Neural Regen Res. 2018 Sep ;13(9):1650-1656. PMID: 30127128
Nerve scarring after peripheral nerve injury can severely hamper nerve regeneration and functional recovery. Further, the anti-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-10, can inhibit nerve scar formation. Saikosaponin a (SSa) is a monomer molecule extracted from the Chinese medicine, Bupleurum. SSa can exert anti-inflammatory effects in spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. However, it has not been shown whether SSa can play a role in peripheral nerve injury. In this study, rats were randomly assigned to three groups. In the sham group, the left sciatic nerve was directly sutured after exposure. In the sciatic nerve injury (SNI) + SSa and SNI groups, the left sciatic nerve was sutured and continuously injected daily with SSa (10 mg/kg) or an equivalent volume of saline for 7 days. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay results demonstrated that at 7 days after injury, interleukin-10 level was considerably higher in the SNI + SSa group than in the SNI group. Masson staining and western blot assay demonstrated that at 8 weeks after injury, type I and III collagen content was lower and nerve scar formation was visibly less in the SNI + SSa group compared with the SNI group. Simultaneously, sciatic functional index and nerve conduction velocity were improved in the SNI + SSa group compared with the SNI group. These results confirm that SSa can increase the expression of the anti-inflammatory factor, interleukin-10, and reduce nerve scar formation to promote functional recovery of injured sciatic nerve.