The repair of peripheral nerve laceration injury to obtain optimal function recovery remains a big challenge in the clinic. Misdirection of regenerating axons to inappropriate target, as a result of forced mismatch of endoneurial sheaths in the case of end-to-end nerve anastomosis or nerve autografting, represents one major drawback that limits nerve function recovery. Here we tested whether tubulation repair of a nerve defect could be beneficial in terms of nerve regeneration accuracy and nerve function. We employed sequential retrograde neuronal tracing to assess the accuracy of motor axon regeneration into the tibial nerve after sciatic nerve laceration and entubulation in adult Sprague-Dawley rats. In a separate cohort of rats with the same sciatic nerve injury/repair protocols, we evaluated nerve function recovery behaviorally and electrophysiologically. The results showed that tubulation repair of the lacerated sciatic nerve using a 3-6-mm-long bioabsorbable guidance conduit significantly reduced the misdirection of motor axons into the tibial nerve as compared to nerve autografting. In addition, tubulation repair ameliorated chronic flexion contracture. This study suggests that tubulation repair of a nerve laceration injury by utilizing a bioresorbable nerve guidance conduit represents a potential substitute for end-to-end epineurial suturing and nerve autografting.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2018
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