Relative growth and maturation of axon size and myelin thickness in the tibial nerve of the rat
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- Fraher, J.P., O'Leary, D., Moran, M.A. et al. Acta Neuropathol (1990) 79: 364. doi:10.1007/BF00308712
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Morphometric observations have been made on the medial plantar division of the tibial nerve (MPD) and on the motor branches of the tibial nerve to the calf muscles (MBC) in rats ranging in age from weaning (3 weeks) to 12 months. Axon size, assessed by measurements of circumference and cross-sectional area, increased rapidly until 3 months with further slight increases between 3 and 9 months and a slight fall between 9 and 12 months. Axon size distributions were unimodal throughout in the MPD but bimodal for the MBC except at 3 weeks. Distributions of myelin thickness were bimodal throughout for both nerves. Scatter plots of g ratios (axon diameter: total fibre diameter) confirmed the presence of two fibre populations: a group of small fibres with relatively thin myelin sheaths, and a group of larger fibres within which sheath thickness was relatively less on the larger than on the smaller axons. These two fibres populations were less easily separable in the MBC than in the MPD nerves. These results document morphometrically the normal growth changes in the rat tibial nerve and also provide control data for the analysis of the effects of experimental procedures on the growth and maturation of peripheral nerve fibres.