Trillium tschonoskii Maxim. is one of traditional Chinese medical herbs that has been utilized to treat brain damages and cephalalgia. The neuroprotective effect of total saponins from Trillium tschonoskii rhizome (TSTT) has been demonstrated efficacy in rats following ischemia. However, the axonal remodeling effect of TSTT and the detailed mechanisms after ischemic stroke have not been investigated.
We aimed to estimate therapeutic role of TSTT in axonal remodeling using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, and explored possible mechanisms underlying this process followed by histological assays in ischemic rats.
Male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats underwent permanently focal cerebral ischemia induced by occluding right permanent middle cerebral artery. TSTT was intragastrically administrated 6 h after surgery and once daily for consecutive 15 days. Neurological function was assessed by the motor deficit score and beam walking test. T2 relaxation mapping and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were applied for detecting cerebral tissues damages and microstructural integrity of axons. Luxol fast blue (LFB) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) were performed to evaluate histopathology in myelinated axons. Double immunofluorescent staining was conducted to assess oligodendrogenesis. Furthermore, the protein expressions regarding to axonal remodeling related signaling pathways were detected by Western blot assays.
TSTT treatment (65, 33 mg/kg) markedly improved motor function after ischemic stroke. T2 mapping MRI demonstrated that TSTT decreased lesion volumes, and DTI further confirmed that TSTT preserved axonal microstructure of the sensorimotor cortex and internal capsule. Meanwhile, diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) showed that TSTT elevated correspondent density and length of fiber in the internal capsule. These MRI measurements were confirmed by histological examinations. Notably, TSTT significantly increased Ki67/NG2, Ki67/CNPase double-labeled cells along the boundary zone of ischemic cortex and striatum. Meanwhile, TSTT treatment up-regulated the phosphorylation level of Ser 9 in GSK-3β, and down-regulated phosphorylated β-catenin and CRMP-2 expression.
Taken together, our findings indicated that TSTT (65, 33 mg/kg) enhanced post-stroke functional recovery, amplified endogenous oligodendrogenesis and promoted axonal regeneration. The beneficial role of TSTT might be correlated with GSK-3/β-catenin/CRMP-2 modulating axonal reorganization after ischemic stroke.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.