Vitamin D2 potentiates axon regeneration.

  • Chabas Jean-François
  • Alluin Olivier
  • Khrestchatisky Michel
  • Féron François
  • Rao G.
  • Garcia S.
  • Lavaut Mn.
  • Risso Jj.
  • Legré R.
  • Magalon G.
  • Marqueste T.
  • Decherchi P.

ART

To date, the use of autograft tissue remains the "gold standard" technique for repairing transected peripheral nerves. However, the recovery is suboptimal, and neuroactive molecules are required. In the current study, we focused our attention on vitamin D, an FDA-approved molecule whose neuroprotective and neurotrophic actions are increasingly recognized. We assessed the therapeutic potential of ergocalciferol--the plant-derived form of vitamin D, named vitamin D2--in a rat model of peripheral nerve injury and repair. The left peroneal nerve was cut out on a length of 10 mm and immediately autografted in an inverted position. After surgery, animals were treated with ergocalciferol (100 IU/kg/day) and compared to untreated animals. Functional recovery of hindlimb was measured weekly, during 10 weeks post-surgery, using a walking track apparatus and a numerical camcorder. At the end of this period, motor and sensitive responses of the regenerated axons were calculated and histological analysis was performed. We observed that vitamin D2 significantly (i) increased axogenesis and axon diameter; (ii) improved the responses of sensory neurons to metabolites such as KCl and lactic acid; and (iii) induced a fast-to-slow fiber type transition of the Tibialis anterior muscle. In addition, functional recovery was not impaired by vitamin D supplementation. Altogether, these data indicate that vitamin D potentiates axon regeneration. Pharmacological studies with various concentrations of the two forms of vitamin D (ergocalciferol vs. cholecalciferol) are now required before recommending this molecule as a potential supplemental therapeutic approach following nerve injury.