Fig Extract Helps Nerve Regrowth in a Sciatic Nerve Injury Study

Jenn Hoskins
30th June, 2024

Fig Extract Helps Nerve Regrowth in a Sciatic Nerve Injury Study

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by Kao Corporation in Japan explored the effects of fig and cranberry extracts on nerve regeneration in a mouse model of sciatic nerve injury
  • Fig extract significantly reduced muscle weight decline, preserved nerve conduction velocity, and improved motor function after nerve injury
  • Fig extract enhanced macrophage infiltration into injured nerve tissue, aiding in debris clearance and tissue regeneration
Peripheral nerve injuries (PNI) can lead to significant loss of motor and sensory functions, often resulting in prolonged recovery periods and incomplete functional restoration. Current treatments include meticulous microsurgical repairs, but these methods frequently yield suboptimal outcomes due to issues like perineural scarring and fibrosis[2]. Therefore, identifying new approaches to enhance nerve regeneration is critical. A recent study by Kao Corporation, Japan, explored the potential of fig (Ficus carica L.) and cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) extracts in promoting nerve regeneration in a mouse model of sciatic nerve crush[1]. The study aimed to evaluate the effects of these fruit extracts, which are rich in phytochemicals known for their medicinal properties, on nerve regeneration. The researchers found that fig extract, but not cranberry extract, significantly mitigated the negative impacts of nerve crush injury. Specifically, fig extract prevented muscle weight decline, preserved nerve conduction velocity, and reduced motor function impairment. It also alleviated myelin thinning and axon diameter reduction, which are critical indicators of nerve health. Interestingly, the study also found that fig extract enhanced macrophage infiltration into the injured nerve tissue. Macrophages are immune cells that play a vital role in nerve repair by clearing debris and promoting tissue regeneration[3]. Upon nerve injury, macrophages are polarized to an anti-inflammatory phenotype, known as M2, which supports axonal regeneration. The increased macrophage infiltration observed with fig extract treatment suggests that it may facilitate nerve repair through enhanced immune response and tissue remodeling. These findings align with previous research indicating the importance of early intervention in nerve injuries. For instance, a study conducted at the Leeds Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery unit demonstrated that early surgical intervention in traumatic brachial plexus injuries significantly improved functional outcomes[4]. Delaying surgery beyond two months resulted in poorer recovery, underscoring the need for timely therapeutic interventions. The current study by Kao Corporation suggests that fig extract could be a valuable early intervention strategy to enhance nerve regeneration and improve functional recovery. Moreover, the study's findings build upon existing knowledge about the biological processes involved in nerve repair. Perineural scarring and fibrosis are significant barriers to successful nerve regeneration, contributing to incomplete recovery in many PNI cases[2]. The ability of fig extract to mitigate these issues by promoting macrophage infiltration and reducing myelin thinning and axon diameter reduction offers a promising new avenue for treatment. In summary, the study by Kao Corporation provides compelling evidence that fig extract has the potential to promote nerve regeneration and improve outcomes for patients with peripheral nerve injuries. By enhancing macrophage infiltration and preserving nerve structure, fig extract addresses some of the critical challenges in nerve repair. Further research is needed to elucidate the precise mechanisms by which fig extracts exert these effects and to translate these findings into clinical applications.



Main Study

1) Ficus carica L. (Fig) promotes nerve regeneration in a mouse model of sciatic nerve crush.

Published 28th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Peripheral nerve injury, scarring, and recovery.

3) Role of macrophages in Wallerian degeneration and axonal regeneration after peripheral nerve injury.

4) The influence of pre-surgical delay on functional outcome after reconstruction of brachial plexus injuries.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙