We have compared the anatomic and functional regeneration of a transected sciatic nerve following regrowth from its proximal stump through either preformed empty mesothelial chambers or autologous nerve grafts bridging a 10 mm gap. Within the mesothelial chambers an organized multifascicular nerve trunk forms between the proximal and distal stumps. After 3 months, distal segment cross sections from the mesothelial chamber and nerve graft groups did not differ with respect to axonal density or distribution of axonal diameters. Mean conduction velocities across the gaps were also similar, although the nerve graft group had a wider distribution of velocities. Little or no regeneration was evident when the gap between the nerve stumps was left empty. These results suggest that if the regrowing proximal stump is in an appropriate environment, it can form a well organized and oriented nerve trunk. In the mesothelial chambers, the regenerating nerve is surrounded by a loose cellular stroma and a small amount of interstitial fluid, which was found to contain trophic activity for cultured rodent sensory neurons. Such factors may also support nerve regeneration in vivo.
View details for Web of Science ID A1982PP37900008
View details for PubMedID 7175129