Planta Med 2008; 74 - PA114
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1084112

Diosgenin protects diabetic neuropathy by induction of nerve growth factor in animal model

TH Kang 1, BN Hong 1, TH Yi 2, SY Kim 3
  • 1Department of Oriental Pharmaceutical Development, Nambu University, Gwangju, 506–706, South Korea
  • 2Department of oriental medicinal processing, College of life science, Kyung Hee University, Kyunggi, 446–701, South Korea
  • 3Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung Hee University, Kyunggi, 446–701, South Korea

Diabetic neuropathy is characteristically described histopathologically with axonal degeneration, demyelination, and atrophy, in association with failed axonal regeneration, remyelination, and synaptogenesis [1]. Recent data suggest that reduced availability of nerve growth factor may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diabetic polyneuropathy [2]. We found that a steroidal saponin, diosgenin which is the primary furostanol saponin found in several dioscorea plants, increased NGF secretion from salivary gland and sciatic nerve in diabetic mouse. Diosgenin showed an enhancement of the sensory and motor nerve conduction velocity in diabetic neuropathy model. In histochemical studies, the diosgenin treated-group showed less unmyelinated sheaths and damaged axon compared to diabetic mouse. Therefore, diosgenin could be helpful to recover the modulation of NGF in diabetic neuropathy associated with the decrease of nerve conduction velocity.

Acknowledgements: This study was supported by a grant of the Korea Health 21 R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (A060718).

References: 1. Calcutt, N. et al. (1990)J. Neurol. Sci. 96: 283–91.

2. Steinbacher, B. et al. (1998) Brain Res. 782: 255–60.