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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Anti-apoptotic and neuroprotective effects of Tetramethylpyrazine following spinal cord ischemia in rabbits

Li-Hong Fan*, Kun-Zheng Wang, Bin Cheng, Chun-Sheng Wang and Xiao-Qian Dang

Author Affiliations

Department of Orthopedics, Second Affiliated Hospital Xi'an Jiao Tong University, Xiwu Road, Xi'an, shaanxi, 710004, China

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BMC Neuroscience 2006, 7:48  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-7-48

Published: 14 June 2006



Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) is one of the most important active ingredients of a Chinese herb Ligusticum wallichii Franchat, which is widely used in many ischemia disorders treatments. However, the exact mechanism by which TMP protects the spinal cord ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is still unknown. For this purpose, rabbits were randomly divided into sham group, control group and TMP group. After the evaluation of neurologic function, the spinal cords were immediately removed for biochemical and histopathological analysis. Apoptosis was measured quantitatively by the terminal transferase UTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) method and confirmed by electron microscopic examination, the expression of Bax and Bcl-2 was immunohistochemically evaluated and quantified by Western blot analysis.


Neurologic outcomes in the TMP-group were significantly better than those in the control group (P < 0.05). TMP decreased spinal cord malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and ameliorated the down regulation of spinal cord superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. TMP significantly reduced the loss of motoneurons and TUNEL-positive rate. Greater Bcl-2 and attenuated Bax expression was found in the TMP treating rabbits.


These findings suggest that TMP has protective effects against spinal cord I/R injury by reducing apoptosis through regulating Bcl-2 and Bax expression.