Androgen induced acceleration of functional recovery after rat sciatic nerve injury

T. J. Brawn, T. Khan, K. J. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: Testosterone (T) treatment accelerates recovery from facial paralysis after facial nerve crush in hamsters. In this study, we extended those studies to another injury model and asked the following question: Will T treatment accelerate recovery from lower limb paralysis following sciatic nerve crush in the rat? Methods: Castrated adult male rats received a right side sciatic nerve crush at the level of the sciatic notch, with the left side serving as control. Half the animals received a subcutaneous implant of a propionated form of T (TP), the others were sham-implanted. Weekly testing using the Sciatic Functional Index (SFI), a quantitative measure of locomotion, was done for 7 weeks postoperative (wpo). Results: Between 3 and 5 weeks post-op, the average SFI score of the TP-treated group was higher than controls. This difference was significant at 4 wpo, indicating an accelerated degree of functional recovery. At these timepoints, the differences were attributable to the footprint or paw length and associated with calf muscle reinnervation rather than the toespreading component associated with intrinsic foot muscle reinnervation. Beyond 5 wpo, there were no differences in the SFI scores. Conclusion: The results indicate that, as with facial nerve regeneration in the hamster, testosterone accelerates functional recovery from hind limb paralysis following sciatic nerve injury in the rat. While the responses of spinal motoneurons to injury can differ from those of cranial motoneurons, in this case it appears that they share a similar response to the trophic actions of androgen. This is important in the context of designing therapeutic strategies for dealing with direct trauma to motoneurons resulting from both peripheral and central nervous system trauma, such as spinal cord injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-295
Number of pages7
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Androgen
  • Axotomy
  • Behavioral recovery
  • Motoneuron
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Sciatic
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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