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Neurosurgery. 1998 Jun;42(6):1347-56.

Effects of prelesioned peripheral nerve graft on nerve regeneration in the rat spinal cord.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Kobe University School of Medicine, Japan.



The aim of this study was to examine the effects of prelesioned peripheral nerve grafts on central nerve regeneration compared with the freshly transected peripheral nerve grafts in the dorsal funiculus of the rat spinal cord.


The experimental paradigm consisted of ligating the common peroneal nerve at the midthigh level for 7 days, while the adjacent tibial nerve was left intact. Numerous Schwann cells appeared accompanying regenerating axons in the proximal stump of the ligated nerve. The proximal stumps of the ligated (prelesioned) common peroneal nerve and the intact (untreated) tibial nerve were excised as one tissue block and autografted into the dorsal funiculi of the upper cervical cord. The graft was placed so that the prelesioned common peroneal nerve was positioned on the left dorsal funiculus and the untreated tibial nerve was positioned to the right of the midsagittal plane. Nerve regeneration was examined by light and transmission electron microscopy 1 to 16 weeks after grafting, comparing the effectiveness of prelesioned and untreated nerve grafts.


Numerous regenerating axons were observed in the caudal border of both grafts 1 to 2 weeks after grafting. Astrocyte proliferation was suppressed in the prelesioned grafts compared to the untreated grafts. Four to 16 weeks later, the number of regenerating axons was approximately 10-fold as large in the prelesioned grafts as in the untreated grafts. The regenerating axons were myelinated by Schwann cells. Astrocytic glial scar formation was inconspicuous in the prelesioned grafts, whereas it was prominent in the untreated grafts. Schwann cells were contiguous with astrocytes along regenerating axons, forming a continuous conduit from the central to peripheral nerve microenvironments for the outgrowth of regenerating axons.


The prelesioned peripheral nerve graft is more effective than the untreated graft in suppressing astrocytic scar formation and in supporting the outgrowth of regenerating axons in the dorsal funiculus of rat spinal cord.

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