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Neurochem Res. 2013 Apr;38(4):772-9. doi: 10.1007/s11064-013-0976-5. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Intrathecal epigallocatechin gallate treatment improves functional recovery after spinal cord injury by upregulating the expression of BDNF and GDNF.

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Department of Spine Surgery, Beijing Jishuitan Hospital, No 31, Xinjiekou East Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, People's Republic of China.


This study aimed to investigate the therapeutic effects of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) administered by subarachnoid injection following spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats and to explore the underlying mechanism. Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups of 12 as follows: a sham group (laminectomy only); a control group; a 10 mg/kg EGCG-treated group; and a 20 mg/kg EGCG-treated group. SCI was induced in the rats using the modified weight-drop method (10 g × 4 cm) at the T10 (10th thoracic vertebral) level. EGCG (10 or 20 mg/kg) or vehicle as control was administered by subarachnoid injection at lumbar level 4 immediately after SCI. Locomotor functional recovery was assessed during the four weeks post-operation using open-field locomotor tests and inclined-plane tests. At the end of the study, the segments of spinal cord encompassing the injury site were removed for histopathological analysis. Immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses were performed to observe the expression of: the B cell CLL/lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). The results showed that the EGCG-treated animals had significantly better recovery of locomotor function, less myelin loss, greater Bcl-2 expression and attenuated Bax expression. In addition, the EGCG treatment significantly increased the expression of BDNF and GDNF after SCI. These findings suggest that EGCG treatment can significantly improve locomotor recovery, and this neuroprotective effect may be related to the up-regulation of BDNF and GDNF, and the inhibition of apoptosis-related proteins. Therefore, EGCG may be a promising therapeutic agent for SCI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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