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Ann Plast Surg. 2006 Aug;57(2):217-22.

Influence of aging on regeneration in end-to-side neurorrhaphy.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63310, USA.


Aging profoundly affects the structural and functional characteristics of the peripheral nervous system. Although several experiments have investigated the effect of aging on nerve regeneration after crush and transection nerve injuries, little is known about the influence of age on end-to-side nerve repairs. It was hypothesized that decreased terminal and collateral sprouting in older animals would be associated with less robust regeneration through end-to-side nerve repairs. In this study, 27 Lewis rats underwent end-to-side repair at ages 2 weeks, 3 months, or 1 year. Histomorphometric assessments at 12 weeks demonstrated increased fiber width, percent neural tissue, and neural density in animals undergoing nerve reconstruction at the age of 2 weeks (P < 0.05). A trend toward further decline in regeneration was noted at ages 1 year versus 3 months. After end-to-side nerve repair, younger animals exhibit a more robust regenerative response, consistent with prior experience in other nerve injury models.

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