BACKGROUND: Researches suggest that ginseng saponin (GS) has protective effect on central nerve, but the effect on spinal nerves is reported rarely. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between effect of GS on spinal nerve and level of nitrogen monoxide (NO) and its mechanism.DESIGN: Randomized controlled animal study.SETTING: Military Hyperbaric Oxygen Center of Navy General Hospital of Chinese PLA.MATERIALS: The experiment was completed at Clinical Anatomy Institute (National Key Laboratory) of the First Military Medical University of Chinese PLA in 2000. Forty SD foetus rats with 15-day conception were selected.METHODS: Study Ⅰ: Embryo-spinal nerve cells of SD rats were separated, extracted and modeled with DMEM/F12 culture medium. On the fourth day of inoculated culture, axon of spinal nerve (simulation of peripheral nerve injury) was damaged with scarification method in injury group, but that in non-injury group was not treated. 150 μL cell culture medium and 100 mg/L Griess solution were mixed at 0, 0.5 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 hours after injury respectively. Absorbency (A) was assayed with Σ960 (λ=570 nm) enzyme-linked immunoadsordent assay (ELISA) symbolic device 10 minutes after reaction at room temperature. Study Ⅱ: Embryo-spinal nerve cells of SD rats were separated and extracted. Those in the experimental group were treated with GS + DMEM/F12 culture medium, but with DMEM/F12 culture medium in the control group.
A value was assayed with the same method. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: ① Relationship between injury of spinal neurons and level of NO ② Relationship between protective effect of GS and level of NO. RESULTS: ① Relationship between injury of spinal neurons and level of NO: In the injury group, NO secretion was increased after injury of spinal neurons, reached peak 2 hours later, and decreased 3 hours later. There was significant difference as compared 0.5 hour with 0 hour (P < 0.01), and also there was significant difference as compared 2 hours with 0 hour (P < 0.01). ② Relationship between protective effect of GS and level of NO: In the control group, A value was increased with time passing, reached peak 2 hours later, and decreased 3 hours later but A value in the experimental group was not changed generally. There was significant difference between the two groups at 2-hour point (P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: NO liberation is increased after peripheral nerve injury. GS can inhibit NO liberation so as to protect peripheral nerve.