Carnosine improves functional recovery and structural regeneration after sciatic nerve crush injury in rats.
Life Sci. 2018 Dec 15 ;215:22-30. Epub 2018 Nov 1. PMID: 30391465
AIMS: Peripheral nerve injury represents a substantial clinical problem with insufficient or unsatisfactory treatment options. Current researches have extensively focused on the new approaches for the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries. Carnosine is a naturally occurring pleotropic dipeptide and has many biological functions such as antioxidant property. In the present study, we examined the regenerative ability of carnosine after sciatic nerve crush injury using behavioral, biochemical, histological and ultrastructural evaluations.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventy-two rats were divided into six groups including control, sham, crush and carnosine (10, 20 and 40 mg/kg) groups. Crush injury in left sciatic nerve was induced by a small haemostatic forceps. Carnosine was administered for 15 consecutive days after induction of crush injury. Sciatic functional index (SFI) was recorded weekly. Histopathological and ultrastructural evaluations were made using light and electron microscopes, respectively. Sciatic nerve tissue malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) levels were measured. Gastrocnemius muscle weight was determined.
KEY FINDINGS: Carnosine at the doses of 20 and 40 mg/kg accelerated SFI recovery. Wallerian degeneration severity and myelinated fibers density, myelin sheath thickness and diameter as well as ultrastructural changes of myelinated axons were improved. It also recovered nerve tissue biochemical (MDA, SOD and TNF-α) changes induced by crush injury. Muscle weight ratio was reached to near normal values. Our results suggest a regenerative effect of carnosine. Inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways, along with provocation of myelination and prevention of muscular atrophy might be involved in this effect of carnosine.
SIGNIFICANCE: Carnosine treatment might be considered as a therapeutic agent for peripheral nerve regeneration and its functional recovery.