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<i>Salvia miltiorrhiza</i> aqueous root extract plays an important role in improving locomotor activity in rats with spinal cord injury

Ji-jun Liu
Xin-wen Wang
Shu-fang Wu
Qi-ning Wu
Ding-jun Hao


Purpose: To investigate the activity of the aqueous root extract of Salvia miltiorrhiza (S. miltiorrhiza) (Lamiaceae), collected from Anhui Province, China, for the treatment of spinal cord injury (SCI) in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats.

Methods: In total, 30 adult rats were selected and divided into three groups; normal control, untreated and treated. Aqueous root extract of S. miltiorrhiza was introduced intraperitoneally to the treated group. Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan rating scale (BBB) was used to evaluate improvement in locomotor activity after SCI. Total RNA was extracted from tissue sections using Sepasol (NacalaiTesque) and RNA samples were reverse-transcribed using M-MLV reverse transcriptase. BioSense SC-810 Gel Documentation System and Gel-Pro 3.1 software were employed for the analysis of band intensity.

Results: A significant reduction in SCI cavity area was observed in the S. miltiorrhiza extract-treated group, relative to the untreated group, after 11 days (0.10 ± 0.05 mm2 treated vs. 0.30 ± 0.01 mm2 untreated). Treatment with root extract also improved the BBB scores; the treated group scored 15, compared to a score of 8 for the untreated group. In addition, the degradation of neurons at the site of injury in the spinal cord was reduced in the treated group compared to the untreated group. Treatment with S. miltiorrhiza aqueous root extract also significantly increased the expression of platelet-derived growth factor-B (PDGF-B) mRNA (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: These data suggest that, in addition to other pharmacological activities, S. miltiorrhiza extract has therapeutic potential for the treatment of neuronal degeneration following SCI.

Keywords: Salvia Miltiorrhiza, Neurons, Spinal cord injury, Locomotor capacity, Platelet-derived growth factor-B, Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan rating scale

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996