Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 83, Issue 5, pp 469–474 | Cite as

The role of extracellular matrix in peripheral nerve regeneration: a wound chamber study

  • H. Mei Liu
Regular Papers


A wound chamber model was used for the study of the interaction between axon, Schwann cell and extracellular matrix during peripheral nerve regeneration. Impermeable silicone tubes, 8 mm long and 1.4 mm in internal diameter were sutured to transected rat sciatic nerve and the contents of the tubes were removed at intervals for chemical, histological, immunocytochemical and electron microscopic studies. There was an initial phase of fluid accumulation and the formation of a fibrin/fibronectin clot or cable which connected the cut ends of the nerve. The chamber fluid was shown to have a protein profile similar to that of rat serum. Schwann cells, endothelial cells and fibroblasts migrated first into the cable, apparently mediated by cell-fibrin interaction. Axons buried within the Schwann cell cytoplasm were led into the cable but an axon-fibrin interaction was not observed. After 1 week, the fibrin matrix underwent dissolution, with replacement by collagen. This marked the onset of myelination and the organization of nerve fibers into fascicles. The findings from the present study suggest that the interactions between axon and Schwann cell and between Schwann cell and a changing extracellular matrix are the essential driving force in nerve growth and differentiation during peripheral nerve regeneration.

Key words

Peripheral nerve regeneration Extracellular matrix Schwann cell Fibrin Wound chamber 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Mei Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyNational Cheng Kung University, Medical CollegeTainanTaiwan, Republic of China

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