Sciatic nerve regeneration after autologous sural nerve transplantation in the rat

Chung Bii Jenq, Richard E. Coggeshall

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17 Scopus citations


The present study is concerned with the question as to whether the size of a nerve used as a transplant to bridge a gap between the stumps of transected nerves has a bearing on the number of axons and the cytological structure of the regenerate. The paradigm is rat sciatic nerve transection with 8 mm of nerve removed with the stumps placed in a silicone tube and two strands of the smaller sural nerve used as bridging transplants. The comparison are with previously published results where the transplant, which is the removed piece of sciatic nerve, is exactly matched in size and with no transplant in the same regeneration paradigm. One suprising finding is that the size of the transplant does not seem to determine the size of the regenerated nerve. The cytological structure of the regenerated nerve is related to the size of the transplant, however, in that the proportion of axons that regenerate inside and outside the transplanted perineurial tubes differs in relation to the size of the transplant. In addition, although there is an increase in the number of blood vessels in all of these paradigms, the greatest increase is with the sural nerve transplants. The key finding in the study, however, is the similarity in numbers of regenerated axons in the gap, distal stump and tributary nerves when regeneration after sciatic nerve transplantation is compared with regeneration after sural nerve transplantation. Thus, notwithstanding the cytologic differences of the two types of regenerate, regenerated axon numbers are approximately the same. The conclusion is that the size of the transplant determines neither the size of the regenerate nor the numbers of regenerated axons in this paradigm. On the assumption that regeneration is better when axonal numbers are closer to normal, the non-matched sural nerve transplant is approximately equal to the matched sciatic nerve transplant and both are superior to the regeneration that takes place in the absence of a transplant in this paradigm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 17 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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