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Rev Bras Fisioter. 2011 Aug-Sep;15(4):325-31. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

High-voltage electrical stimulation improves nerve regeneration after sciatic crush injury.

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Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil.



Peripheral nerve injury causes prolonged functional limitation being a clinical challenge to identify resources that accelerates its recovery.


To investigate the effect of high-voltage electrical stimulation (HVES) on the morphometric and functional characteristics of the regenerated nerve after crush injury in rats.


Twenty Wistar rats were randomly allocated into 4 groups: Control (CON) - without injury and without HVES; Denervated (D) - sciatic nerve crush only; Denervated + HVES - sciatic nerve crush and HVES; SHAM - without injury but HVES. The HVES and SHAM groups were stimulated (100 Hz; minimum voltage of 100 V, 20 μs, 100 μs interpulse interval) for 30 min/day, 5 days/week. The sciatic functional index (SFI) was evaluated before the injury and at the 7th, 14th and 21st postoperatory (PO) days. Neural components and the area density of connective tissue, blood vessels and macrophages were analyzed.


Axonal diameter was higher on the HVES than on D group, reaching almost 80% above the control values after 21 days (p<0.05). Fiber diameter and myelin sheath thickness were higher on the HVES than on D group (p<0.05) reaching 96.5% and 100% of the control values, respectively. Functional recovery at the 14th PO day was better on group HVES. The macrophages and connective tissue area density was lower on the HVES group, while blood vessels number did not differ among groups.


The HVES accelerated the functional recovery, potentiated the nerve fibers maturation and decreased macrophages and connective tissue area density, suggesting acceleration of neural repair.

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