Immunohistochemical characterization of axonal sprouting and reactive tissue changes after long-term implantation of a polyimide sieve electrode to the transected adult rat sciatic nerve
The development of artificial microstructures suited for interfacing of peripheral nerves is not only relevant for basic neurophysiological research but also for future prosthetic approaches. Aim of the present study was to provide a detailed analysis of axonal sprouting and reactive tissue changes after implantation of a flexible sieve electrode to the proximal stump of the adult rat sciatic nerve. We report here that massive neurite growth after implantation, steadily increasing over a period of 11 months, was observed. Parallel to this increase was the expression of myelin markers like Po, whereas non-myelin-forming Schwann cells did not change. Compared to five weeks post-implantation, where both Schwann-cell phenotypes were intermingled with each other, non-myelin-forming Schwann cells occupied a peripheral position in each microfascicle after 11 months. After an initial increase, hematogenous macrophages were down-regulated in number but maintained close contact with the implant. However, at no time were signs of its degradation observed. It is concluded that the introduced flexible polyimide electrode is suitable for contacting peripheral nerves since it permits substantial neurite growth and offers excellent long-term stability.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 22, Issue 17, September 2001, Pages 2333–2343