Alpha-lipoic acid provides neuroprotection from ischemia-reperfusion injury of peripheral nerve

Yoshiyuki Mitsui, James D. Schmelzer, Paula J. Zollman, Manami Mitsui, Hans J. Tritschler, Phillip A. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Background: Reperfusion aggravates nerve ischemic fiber degeneration, likely by the generation of reduced oxygen species. We therefore evaluated if racemic α-lipoic acid (LA), a potent antioxidant, will protect peripheral nerve from reperfusion injury, using our established model of ischemia- reperfusion injury. Methods: We used male SD rats, 300±5 g. Ischemia was produced by the ligature of each of the supplying arteries to the sciatic- tibial nerve of the right hind-limb for predetermined periods of time (either 3 or 5 h), followed by the release of the ligatures, resulting in reperfusion. LA was given intraperitoneally daily for 3 days for both pre- and post-surgery. Animals received either LA, 100 mg/kg/day, or the same volume of saline intraperitoneally. Clinical behavioral score and electrophysiology of motor and sensory nerves were obtained at 1 week after ischemia-reperfusion. After electrophysiological examination, the sciatic- tibial nerve was fixed in situ and embedded in epon. We evaluated for ischemic fiber degeneration (IFD) and edema, as we described previously. Results: Distal sensory conduction (amplitude of sensory action potential and sensory conduction velocity (SCV) of digital nerve) was significantly improved in the 3-h ischemia group, treated with LA (P<0.05). LA also improved IFD of the mid tibial nerve (P=0.0522). LA failed to show favorable effects if the duration of ischemia was longer (5-h ischemia). Conclusion: These results suggest that α-lipoic acid is efficacious for moderate ischemia-reperfusion, especially on distal sensory nerves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the neurological sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1999


  • Ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • Ischemic fiber degeneration
  • Neuroprotection
  • Oxidative stress
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Sensory conduction velocity
  • α-Lipoic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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