Inhibition of Caspase-3, -6, -8 and -9 Expression in Rats with Acute Spinal Cord Injury by Cantharidin Treatment

  • Gang Zhao
  • Xiao-Hui Wang
  • Ren-Qian Song
  • Chun-Lin Zhang
Keywords: Cantharidin, Caspase, Anti-apoptotic, Inhibition, Regeneration


Purpose: To demonstrate the anti-apoptotic effects of cantharidin in mice with acute spinal cord injury (ASCI).

Methods: In total, 30 male Sprague-Dawley mice were divided into three groups of 10 animals each. ASCI was induced in two of the groups using a modified Allen's method, consisting of treatment with 10 mg/kg body weight cantharidin after injury, and sacrifice on days 2, 5, 10, 20 and 30 to extract the spinal cord. The activity levels of caspase-3, -6, -8, and -9 were determined spectrophotometrically at 455 nm with a microplate reader.

Results: The results showed that cantharidin treatment caused a significant reduction in the expression levels of all four caspases – caspase-3, -6, -8, and -9 – compared with the untreated groups. Two hours after ASCI, caspase levels in the cantharidin-treated group increased, reaching maximum after day 5, but were significantly lower than in the untreated group. The expression levels of caspases in the cantharidin-treated group were similar to those in the control group on days 20 and 30 following ASCI (p> 0.05).

Conclusion: Cantharidin treatment exerts an anti-apoptotic effect against secondary spinal cord injury (SCI) by suppressing caspase activity. Thus, cantharidin may be suitable for the treatment of secondary SCI.

Keywords: Cantharidin, Caspase, Anti-apoptotic, Inhibition, Regeneration


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996