The spatial-temporal progress of peripheral nerve regeneration across a 10-mm gap within a silicone chamber was examined with the light and electron microscope at 2-mm intervals. A coaxial, fibrin matrix was observed at 1 week with a proximal-distal narrowing that extended beyond the midpoint of the chamber. At 2 weeks, Schwann cells, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells had migrated into the matrix from both nerve stumps. There was a delay of 7-14 days after nerve transection and chamber implantation before regenerating axons appeared in the chamber. At 2 weeks, nonmyelinated axons were seen only in the proximal 1-5 mm of the chamber in association with Schwann cells. Axons reached the distal stump by 3 weeks and a proximal-distal gradient of myelination was observed. These observations define the parameters of a morphologic assay for regeneration in this chamber model which can be used to investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the success of peripheral nerve regeneration.
View details for Web of Science ID A1983RC61300008
View details for PubMedID 6619324