Author(s): Belkas JS, Munro CA, Shoichet MS, Midha R
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Abstract PURPOSE: As alternatives to nerve grafts for peripheral nerve repair, we have synthesized 12 mm long poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate-co-methyl methacrylate) (PHEMA-MMA) porous tubes and studied their regenerative capacity for the repair of surgically-created 10 mm rat sciatic nerve gaps. We compared the in vivo regenerative efficacy of these artificial tubes with the gold standard, the nerve autograft. METHODS: Tubes were assessed in vivo for their ability to support nerve regeneration at 4, 8, and 16 weeks post-implantation by histology, electrophysiology, histomorphometry, and reinnervated lateral gastrocnemius (LG) dry muscle mass. RESULTS: Axonal regeneration within the tubes was observed by 8 weeks, with outcome parameters comparable to autografts. This finding was further supported by the electrophysiological and histomorphometric results. The 16 week tube group had a bimodal response, with 60\% of the tubes having a similar response to autografts and the other 40\% having significantly lower (p < 0.05) outcome measures in several parameters. CONCLUSIONS: Axonal regeneration in artificial tubes was similar to that in autografts at 8 and 16 weeks, however, a bimodal distribution of regeneration was observed in 16 week tubes.
This article was published in Restor Neurol Neurosci
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation