FK506 induces changes in muscle properties and promotes metabosensitive nerve fiber regeneration.

  • Chabas Jean-François
  • Alluin Olivier
  • Rao Guillaume
  • Garcia Stéphane
  • Lavaut Marie-Noëlle
  • Legré Régis
  • Magalon Guy
  • Marqueste Tanguy
  • Feron François
  • Decherchi Patrick


Abstract Accumulating evidence indicates that in addition to its immunosuppressant properties, FK506 (tacrolimus), an FDA-approved molecule, promotes nerve regeneration. However, the neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects of this molecule on sensitive fiber regeneration have never been studied. In order to fill this gap in our knowledge, we assessed the therapeutic potential of FK506 in a rat model of peripheral nerve repair. A 1-cm segment of left peroneal nerve was cut out and immediately autografted in an inverted position. After surgery, the animals were treated with FK506 (1.2 mg/kg/d) via an osmotic pump and compared to untreated animals. Recovery of use of the injured leg was assessed weekly for 12 weeks using a walking track apparatus and a camcorder. At the end of this period, motor and metabosensitive responses of the regenerated axons were recorded and histological analysis was performed. We observed that FK506 significantly: (1) increased the diameter of regenerated axons in the distal portion of the graft; (2) improved the responses of sensory neurons to metabolites such as potassium chloride and lactic acid; and (3) induced a fast-to-slow-fiber-type transition of the tibialis anterior muscle. Taken together, these data indicate that FK506 potentiates metabosensitive nerve fiber regeneration. Pharmacological studies of various dosages and concentrations of FK506 are required before recommending this drug for therapeutic treatment of nerve injuries.