Ursolic acid induces neural regeneration after sciatic nerve injury*

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In this study, we aimed to explore the role of ursolic acid in the neural regeneration of the injured sciatic nerve. BALB/c mice were used to establish models of sciatic nerve injury through unilateral sciatic nerve complete transection and microscopic anastomosis at 0.5 cm below the ischial tuberosity. The successfully generated model mice were treated with 10, 5, or 2.5 mg/kg ursolic acid via intraperitoneal injection. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay results showed that serum S100 protein expression level gradually increased at 1-4 weeks after sciatic nerve injury, and significantly decreased at 8 weeks. As such, ursolic acid has the capacity to significantly increase S100 protein expression levels. Real-time quantitative PCR showed that S100 mRNA expression in the L4-6 segments on the injury side was increased after ursolic acid treatment. In addition, the muscular mass index in the soleus muscle was also increased in mice treated with ursolic acid. Toluidine blue staining revealed that the quantity and average diameter of myelinated nerve fibers in the injured sciatic nerve were significantly increased after treatment with ursolic acid. 10 and 5 mg/kg of ursolic acid produced stronger effects than 2.5 mg/kg of ursolic acid. Our findings indicate that ursolic acid can dose-dependently increase S100 expression and promote neural regeneration in BALB/c mice following sciatic nerve injury.

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