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J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Apr 30;179(1):51-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2009.01.011. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

Functional and morphological assessment of a standardized crush injury of the rat median nerve.

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Department of Animal and Human Biology, University of Turin, Italy.


The availability of effective experimental models for investigating nerve regeneration and designing new strategies for promoting this unique repair process is important. The aim of this study was to standardize a rat median nerve crush injury model using a non-serrated clamp exerting a compression force of 17.02 MPa for a duration of 30s. Results showed that functional recovery, evaluated by grasping test, was already detectable at day-12 and progressively increased until day-28 after which animal performance plateaued until the end of testing (day-42), reaching a range of 75-80% of pre-operative values. Morphological analysis on the median nerve segments, distal to the crush lesion, which were withdrawn at the end of the experiment showed that regenerated nerve fibers are significantly more numerous and densely packed; they are also smaller and have a thinner myelin sheath compared to controls. Together, these results provide a baseline characterization of the crush median nerve injury experimental model for its employment in the investigation of nerve regeneration research, especially when a reproducible regeneration process is required, such as for the study of biological mechanisms of peripheral nerve fiber regeneration or development of new therapeutic agents for promoting posttraumatic nerve repair.

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