Journal of the neurological sciences

FK506-loaded chitosan conduit promotes the regeneration of injured sciatic nerves in the rat through the upregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and TrkB.

PMID 24954089


FK506 has been shown to exert neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects, but its long-term application for nerve regeneration is limited. This study evaluated the potential application of a novel FK506-loaded chitosan conduit for peripheral nerve repair, and explored the underlying mechanism. A sciatic nerve injury model was created in male Wistar rats, which were then randomly divided into three treatment groups (n=40, each): chitosan-only, chitosan+FK506 injection, and FK506-loaded chitosan. We found significant recovery of normal morphology of sciatic nerves and higher density of myelinated nerve fibers in rats treated with FK506-loaded chitosan. Similarly, the total number of myelinated nerve fibers, myelin sheath thickness, and axon diameters were significantly higher in this group compared with the others, and the compound muscle action potentials and motor nerve conduction velocity values of sciatic nerves were significantly higher. BDNF and TrkB levels in motor neurons were highest in rats treated with FK506-loaded chitosan. In conclusion, FK506-loaded chitosan promoted peripheral nerve repair and regeneration in a rat model of sciatic nerve injury. These effects are correlated with increased BDNF and TrkB expression in motor neurons.