(-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) attenuates peripheral nerve degeneration in rat sciatic nerve crush injury.Neurochem Int 2013; 62(3):221-31NI
Recently, we have shown that green tea (GT) consumption improves both reflexes and sensation in unilateral chronic constriction injury to the sciatic nerve. Considering the substantial neuroprotective properties of GT polyphenols, we sought to investigate whether (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) could protect the sciatic nerve and improve functional impairments induced by a crushing injury. We also examined whether neuronal cell apoptosis induced by the crushing injury is affected by EGCG treatment. Histological examination of sciatic nerves from EGCG-treated (50mg/kg; i.p.) showed that axonotmized rats had a remarkable axonal and myelin regeneration with significant decrease in the number of myelinated axonal fibers compared to vehicle-treated crush group. Similarly, ultrastructural evaluation of EGCG-treated nerves displayed normal unmyelinated and myelinated axons with regular myelin sheath thickness and normalized appearance of Schmidt-Lantermann clefts. Extracellular matrix displayed normal collagen fibers appearance with distinctively organized distribution similar to sham animals. Analysis of foot position and extensor postural thrust test showed a progressive and faster recovery in the EGCG-treated group compared to vehicle-treated animals. EGCG-treated rats showed significant increase in paw withdrawal thresholds to mechanical stimulation compared to vehicle-treated crush group. EGCG treatment also restored the mRNA expression of Bax, Bcl-2 and survivin but not that of p53 to sham levels on days 3 and 7 post-injury. Our results demonstrate that EGCG treatment enhanced functional recovery, advanced morphological nerve rescue and accelerated nerve regeneration following crush injury partly due to the down regulation of apoptosis related genes.