Editor's Note
Icariin, the major active component in Epimedii Herba, was investigated for protective effects following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Icariin-treated groups of mice showed increased recognition index in the novel object recognition test at all doses, providing a basis for using icariin following TBI and suggesting that it could be a candidate for the development of therapeutic agents for functional recovery after TBI.
Abstract
Epimedii Herba (EH) has been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat hemiplegia following stroke. Icariin, its major active component, is used as a quality-control marker and for its various pharmacological effects. We hypothesized that icariin would show protective effects following traumatic brain injury (TBI). The TBI mouse model was induced using a controlled cortical impact method. Body weight, brain damage, motor function, and cognitive function were evaluated. Synaptogenesis markers were analyzed to investigate potential mechanisms of action. The animals were divided into six groups: sham, control, minocycline-treated group, and icariin-treated (3, 10, and 30 mg/kg, p. o.) groups. The icariin 30 mg/kg-treated group regained body weight at 7 and 8 d post TBI. Icariin 30 mg/kg- and 10 mg/kg-treated groups showed enhanced sensory-motor function at 8 d post TBI in rotarod and balance beam tests. Icariin-treated groups showed increased recognition index in the novel object recognition test at all doses and increased spontaneous alternation in the Y-maze test at 30 mg/kg. Icariin upregulated brain-derived neurotrophic factor, synaptophysin and postsynaptic density protein 95 expressions. However, no protective effects against brain damage or neuronal death were observed. The current results provide a basis for using icariin following TBI and suggest that it could be a candidate for the development of therapeutic agents for functional recovery after TBI.