Novel Model of Somatosensory Nerve Transfer in the Rat
Nerve transfer (neurotization) is a reconstructive procedure in which the distal denervated nerve is joined with a proximal healthy nerve of a less significant function. Neurotization models described to date are limited to avulsed roots or pure motor nerve transfers, neglecting the clinically significant mixed nerve transfer. Our aim was to determine whether femoral-to-sciatic nerve transfer could be a feasible model of mixed nerve transfer. Three Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to unilateral femoral-to-sciatic nerve transfer. After 50 days, functional recovery was evaluated with a prick test. At the same time, axonal tracers were injected into each sciatic nerve distally to the lesion site, to determine nerve fibers’ regeneration. In the prick test, the rats retracted their hind limbs after stimulation, although the reaction was moderately weaker on the operated side. Seven days after injection of axonal tracers, dyes were visualized by confocal microscopy in the spinal cord. Innervation of the recipient nerve originated from higher segments of the spinal cord than that on the untreated side. The results imply that the femoral nerve axons, ingrown into the damaged sciatic nerve, reinnervate distal targets with a functional outcome.
KeywordsAxonal tracers Nerve fibers Nerve transfer Neuroregeneration Neurotization Sciatic nerve Spinal cord injury
Supported by the Medical University of Warsaw, Second Faculty of Medicine, Grant No. 2 W8/NM2/16, and the statutory funds from the First Faculty of Medicine, Medical University of Warsaw. The funder had no involvement in the study design nor in data collection, analysis, or interpretation.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.
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