Neurohistological findings after experimental anterior cruciate ligament allograft transplantation
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A multiplicity of surgical operations have been developed in an attempt to achieve satisfactory function after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair. None of these procedures have been able to duplicate the fiber organization, anatomy of the attachment site, vascularity, or function of the ACL. Eighteen foxhounds received a deep-frozen bone-ACL-bone allograft and a ligament augmentation device. Neurohistological changes were evaluated 3, 6 and 12 months following implantation. The modified silver impregnation method and gold chloride technique were used to examine the presence of nerve endings and axons. Two morphologically distinct mechanoreceptors were identified and classified as free nerve endings and Golgi-like tendon receptors respectively. Fine nerve endings frequently ramified freely into ligament collagen bundles. Nerves and blood vessels were commonly associated. As in normal ACLs, both neuroreceptor types were mostly located near the surface of the allografts and at the two bony attachments. This study demonstrated the first histological evidence of viable mechanoreceptors and free nerve endings in transplanted ACL allografts, not previously reported in other ACL substitutes used for ACL reconstruction. Particularly importantly for postoperative rehabilitation, this technique may allow the reconstruction of the proprioceptive functions of normal ACLs.
KeywordsAnterior Cruciate Ligament Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Allograft Transplantation Satisfactory Function Gold Chloride
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