Chitosan/polyglycolic acid nerve grafts for axon regeneration from prolonged axotomized neurons to chronically denervated segments
Peripheral nerve regeneration for long-term delayed injuries is usually unsatisfied. Here we attempted to use a chitosan/polyglycolic acid (PGA) artificial nerve graft to bridge a long-term delayed 10-mm defect in SD rats based on the previous studies on the graft used for immediate repair of 30-mm-long dog sciatic nerve defects and for clinical treatment of a 35-mm-long median nerve defect at elbow of a human patient. In this study, for experimental groups, the rat sciatic nerve had been transected leaving a 10-mm defect, which was maintained for 3 or 6 months before implantation with the chitosan/PGA artificial nerve graft. The animals non-grafted or grafted with autograft served as negative or positive control group. In experiment groups, nerve regeneration with functional recovery was achieved as measured by electrophysiological and histological techniques, although differences in the quantity and the quality of the regenerated nerve were observed between the 3- and 6-month delayed subgroups. The results showed that: (1) a few denervated Schwann cells survived and sustained their ability to myelinate axons at least 6 months, and (2) the atrophic denervated muscle could be reinnervated by regenerated axons through new muscle-nerve connections. These observations provide the possibility of guiding regenerated axons from survived axotomized neurons to distal nerve stump by the chitosan/PGA artificial nerve graft.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 30, Issue 28, October 2009, Pages 5004–5018