eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 11

Experimental research
Erythropoietin promotes peripheral nerve regeneration in rats by upregulating expression of insulin-like growth factor-1

Wei Wang
Dongsheng Li
Qing Li
Lei Wang
Guang Bai
Tao Yang
Qiang Li
Zhitu Zhu
Hongzhi Sun

Arch Med Sci 2015; 11, 2: 433–437
Online publish date: 2015/04/23
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Introduction: Erythropoietin (EPO) has been shown to have beneficial effects on peripheral nerve damage, but its mechanism of action remains incompletely understood. In this study we hypothesized that EPO promotes peripheral nerve repair via neurotrophic factor upregulation.

Material and methods: Thirty adult male Wistar rats were employed to establish a sciatic nerve injury model. They were then randomly divided into two groups to be subjected to different treatment: 0.9% saline (group A) and 5000 U/kg EPO (group B). The walking behavior of rats was evaluated by footprint analysis, and the nerve regeneration was assessed by electron microscopy. The expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the injured sciatic nerves was detected by immunohistochemical analysis.

Results: Compared to saline treatment, EPO treatment led to the growth of myelin sheath, the recovery of normal morphology of axons and Schwann cells, and higher density of myelinated nerve fibers. Erythropoietin treatment promoted the recovery of SFI in the injured sciatic nerves. In addition, EPO treatment led to increased IGF-1 expression in the injured sciatic nerves.

Conclusions: Erythropoietin may promote peripheral nerve repair in a rat model of sciatic nerve injury through the upregulation of IGF-1 expression. These findings reveal a novel mechanism underlying the neurotrophic effects of EPO.

erythropoietin, insulin-like growth factor-1, peripheral nerve repair, sciatic nerve

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