Neuroprotective effect of oleuropein following spinal cord injury in rats
Oleuropein (OE) is a well-known antioxidant polyphenol from olive oil. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential neuroprotective effects of oleuropein in an experimental spinal cord injury model. Rats were randomly divided into four groups of 21 rats each as follows: sham-operated group, trauma group, and OE treatment groups (20 mg/kg, i.p., immediately and 1 hour after spinal cord injury). Spinal cord samples were taken 24 hours after injury and studied for determination of malondialdehyde and glutathione levels, histopathological assessment, immunohistochemistry of Bax and Bcl-2, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling reaction. Behavioral testing was performed weekly up to 6 weeks post-injury. The results showed that malondialdehyde levels were significantly decreased, and glutathione levels were significantly increased in OE treatment groups. Greater Bcl-2 and attenuated Bax expression could be detected in the OE-treated rats. OE significantly reduced terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling-positive reaction and improved behavioral function than the trauma group. These findings indicate that OE may be effective in protecting rat spinal cord from secondary injury.