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J Neurosci Res. 2012 May;90(5):967-80. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23023. Epub 2012 Feb 3.

Rapid, effective, and long-lasting behavioral recovery produced by microsutures, methylene blue, and polyethylene glycol after completely cutting rat sciatic nerves.

Author information

1
Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas; Section of Neurobiology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA. bittner@mail.utexas.edu

Abstract

Behavioral function lost in mammals (including humans) after peripheral nerve severance is slowly (weeks to years) and often poorly restored by 1-2-mm/day, nonspecifically directed outgrowths from proximal axonal stumps. To survive, proximal stumps must quickly repair (seal) plasmalemmal damage. We report that, after complete cut- or crush-severance of rat sciatic nerves, morphological continuity, action potential conduction, and behavioral functions can be consistently (>98% of trials), rapidly (minutes to days), dramatically (70-85% recovery), and chronically restored and some Wallerian degeneration prevented. We assess axoplasmic and axolemmal continuity by intra-axonal dye diffusion and action potential conduction across the lesion site and amount of behavioral recovery by Sciatic Functional Index and Foot Fault tests. We apply well-specified sequences of solutions containing FDA-approved chemicals. First, severed axonal ends are opened and resealing is prevented by hypotonic Ca²⁺-free saline containing antioxidants (especially methylene blue) that inhibit plasmalemmal sealing in sciatic nerves in vivo, ex vivo, and in rat B104 hippocampal cells in vitro. Second, a hypotonic solution of polyethylene glycol (PEG) is applied to open closely apposed (by microsutures, if cut) axonal ends to induce their membranes to flow rapidly into each other (PEG-fusion), consistent with data showing that PEG rapidly seals (PEG-seals) transected neurites of B104 cells, independently of any known endogenous sealing mechanism. Third, Ca²⁺-containing isotonic saline is applied to induce sealing of any remaining plasmalemmal holes by Ca²⁺-induced accumulation and fusion of vesicles. These and other data suggest that PEG-sealing is neuroprotective, and our PEG-fusion protocols that repair cut- and crush-severed rat nerves might rapidly translate to clinical procedures.

PMID:
22302646
DOI:
10.1002/jnr.23023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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