Surgical Neurology International 2012 3(1):74-74
Background: Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) causes the production of toxic free radicals and leads to pathological changes in nerve tissue. We investigated the effect of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) in a rat model for sciatic nerve I/R and discuss the possible cytoprotective and antioxidant mechanism of α-MSH against ischemic fiber degeneration. Methods: Experiments were performed using 42 adult male Wistar rats. Rats were divided into six experimental groups: control group, ischemia group, I/R groups, and α-MSH treated groups. Ischemia was produced by clamping of the femoral vessels. Immediately after ischemia that lasted 3 h, 75 μg/kg of α-MSH was administered subcutaneously before reperfusion and the tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) level was evaluated as an indicator of lipid peroxidation in groups with different reperfusion periods. Results: The reperfusion injury did not begin in the first hour of reperfusion after 3 h of ischemia, and MDA levels increased on the first day of reperfusion. During the first day, blood MDA levels were decreased in the α-MSH group compared to the control group. The tissue from animals pre-treated with α-MSH showed fewer morphological alterations. Myelin breakdown was significantly diminished after treatment with α-MSH, and the ultrastructural features of axons showed remarkable improvement. Two-way analysis of variance was used for comparing three or more groups. When a significant difference existed, the post-hoc multiple-comparison test was applied to demonstrate the differences. Conclusions: The results confirm that pre-treatment with α-MSH after ischemia protected the peripheral nerves against I/R injury.