Crocetin Potentiates Neurite Growth in Hippocampal Neurons and Facilitates Functional Recovery in Rats with Spinal Cord Injury.
Neurosci Bull. 2017 Aug 2. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PMID: 28770439
Crocetin is an ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine and has therapeutic potential in various diseases due to its pharmacological properties, such as neuroprotection, anti-oxidative stress, and anti-inflammation. These properties might benefit the treatment of spinal cord injury. In the present study, we tested the effect of crocetin on neurite growth and sensorimotor dysfunction in a rat model of spinal cord injury. We evaluated the viability of cultured hippocampal neurons with tetrazolium dye and lactate dehydrogenase assays, visualized neurites and axons with antibody staining, and monitored motor and sensorimotor functions in rats with spinal cord injury using the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan assay and the contact plantar placement test, respectively, and measured cytokine expression using enzyme-linked immuno-absorbent assays. We found that crocetin (1) did not alter the viability of cultured hippocampal neurons; (2) accelerated neurite growth with preference for the longest process in individual hippocampal neurons; (3) reversed the inhibition of neurite growth by chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and NogoA; (4) facilitated the recovery of motor and sensorimotor functions after spinal cord injury; and (5) did not inhibit pro-inflammatory responses, but restored the innervation of the descending 5-HT system in injured spinal cord. Crocetin promotes neurite growth and facilitates the recovery of motor and sensorimotor functions after spinal cord injury, likely through repairing neuronal connections.