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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 627923, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/627923
Research Article

Dexamethasone Enhanced Functional Recovery after Sciatic Nerve Crush Injury in Rats

1Department of Neurology, Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, Medical Center, Tsinghua University, No. 168 Li Tang Road, Changping District, Beijing 102218, China
2Department of Spine Surgery, Aviation General Hospital of China Medical University, Beijing Institute of Translational Medicine, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 3 Anwai Beiyuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100012, China

Received 30 November 2014; Accepted 6 January 2015

Academic Editor: Kirsten Haastert-Talini

Copyright © 2015 Xinhong Feng and Wei Yuan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Dexamethasone is currently used for the treatment of peripheral nerve injury, but its mechanisms of action are not completely understood. Inflammation/immune response at the site of nerve lesion is known to be an essential trigger of the pathological changes that have a critical impact on nerve repair and regeneration. In this study, we observed the effects of various doses of dexamethasone on the functional recovery after sciatic nerve crush injury in a rat model. Motor functional recovery was monitored by walking track analysis and gastrocnemius muscle mass ratio. The myelinated axon number was counted by morphometric analysis. Rats administered dexamethasone by local intramuscular injection had a higher nerve function index value, increased gastrocnemius muscle mass ratio, reduced Wallerian degeneration severity, and enhanced regenerated myelinated nerve fibers. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed for CD3 expression, which is a marker for T-cell activation, and infiltration in the sciatic nerve. Dexamethasone-injected rats had fewer CD3-positive cells compared to controls. Furthermore, we found increased expression of GAP-43, which is a factor associated with development and plasticity of the nervous system, in rat nerves receiving dexamethasone. These results provide strong evidence that dexamethasone enhances sciatic nerve regeneration and function recovery in a rat model of sciatic nerve injury through immunosuppressive and potential neurotrophic effects.