Indexed on: 15 Oct '20Published on: 14 Oct '20Published in: Microsurgery
Using the rat sciatic nerve model, the difference in outcome using a nerve segment either sliced open or minced with a blade incorporated into a nerve conduit were compared and the relative effects upon the rate and completeness of the nerve regeneration was determined. A 10-mm gap was created in the rat sciatic nerve and bridged with a biodegradable nerve conduit. Segments of the resected nerve (2-mm lengths) were prepared by either slicing the nerve with one longitudinal cut or by scalpel mincing of the nerve tissue, with insertion of the prepared nerve segment into the center of the conduit. Flow cytometry and Western blotting of these preparations were performed to measure viable cells and to examine the expression of Erk1/2 for neural regeneration potential with both treatments. in vivo nerve regeneration was evaluated at 2, 4, 8, and 20 weeks, using immunohistochemistry, transmission electron microscopy, muscle wet weight, and nerve conduction velocity determination. The sliced nerve group showed significantly greater Schwann cell migration with the subsequent axonal elongation at 4 weeks after implantation, in comparison to the minced nerve group and controls (unaltered conduit grafts). By 20 weeks anterior tibial muscle weight and nerve conduction velocity were also greater in the sliced nerve group in comparison to the other groups (p < .05). These findings suggest that insertion of a sliced section of nerve into a biodegradable nerve conduit can shorten the time for and improve the quality of nerve regeneration. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.