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J Plast Surg Hand Surg. 2012 Sep;46(3-4):217-21. doi: 10.3109/2000656X.2012.709726.

Effect of prolonged ischaemic time on muscular atrophy and regenerating nerve fibres in transplantation of the rat hind limb.

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Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Our aim was to test the influence of cold ischaemia on replanted limbs, focusing on muscular atrophy and neurological recovery. Inbred wild-type and green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic (Tg) Lewis rats aged 8-10 weeks were used. The amputated limbs were transplanted at several cold ischaemic times (0, 1, 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours). An arterial ischaemic model and a denervation model were used as controls. To study nerve regeneration, a GFP limb was transplanted on to the syngenic wild Lewis rat. These animals were evaluated histologically, electrophysiologically, and immunohistochemically. The longer the ischaemic time, the more evident was atrophy of the muscles. Electrophysiological investigation showed that the latency at 3 weeks was longer in the transplantation models than in the normal controls, particularly in the longer ischaemia group. Larger numbers of migrating Schwann cells were seen in the group with no delay than in the group that had been preserved for 12 hours. Ischaemia after amputation of a limb causes muscle cells to necrose and atrophy, and these changes worsen in proportion to the ischaemic preservation time. A delay in nerve regeneration and incomplete paralysis caused by malregeneration also affect muscular atrophy.

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