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Exp Neurol. 2001 Feb;167(2):312-20.

Transplantation of autologous dorsal root ganglia into the peroneal nerve of adult rats: uni- and bidirectional axonal regrowth from the grafted DRG neurons.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Neurobiologie, Université René Descartes, 45 rue des Saints-Pères, F-75270 Paris cedex 06, France.


Previous studies have demonstrated that transplanted dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGNs) can survive and differentiate in a variety of orthotopic and heterotopic locations. In order to develop strategies aimed at restoring the sensory function following traumatic injury to the spinal cord and to its peripheral sensory connections, we have transplanted adult autologous dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) into the peroneal nerve of adult rats. Twelve female Sprague-Dawley rats were used. A segment of the peroneal nerve was isolated by double transection and ligature to prevent undesirable reinnervation. The left fifth cervical (C5) DRG was removed from its normal location and inserted into the midportion of the isolated nerve segment. One month after the grafting procedure, a morphological study included axonal retrograde labeling with True Blue (TB) and/or Diamidino Yellow (DY) applied on each cut end of the nerve segment, cell counting, and cell measurement after staining with cresyl violet. Compared to the C5 ganglion maintained in situ, the mean number of surviving DRGNs in the transplant was 1381, corresponding to a survival rate of 20%. Both singly (TB or DY) and doubly (TB + DY) stained DRGNs were encountered. The proportion of surviving neurons that appeared to be doubly labeled was 23%. These neurons were considered as having grown two opposite axonal projections, one into the "central" part of the nerve segment and a second one into its "peripheral" part. The present results give new insights and interesting prospects concerning the possibilities of reconstructing the sensory circuitry after central and/or peripheral injuries.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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