Assessment of the therapeutic potential of interventions to bridge-repair peripheral nerve defects heavily relies. on the demonstration of improved functional outcome. In the present study we used CatWalk gait analysis (locomotor-test) and Static Sciatic Index (SSI) (static-toe-spread-test) to assess the behavioural benefits of autologous nerve transplantation (ANT) repair of 2-cm rat sciatic nerve defects (neurotmesis-lesion). A reproducible and standardised rat sciatic nerve crush lesion model (axonotmesis-lesion) was used to assess the extent of recovery supported by maximal axon regeneration (measured by SSI and Catwalk). Animals were behaviourally followed for a period of 10 weeks. SSI analysis showed that ANT induced a significant improvement in motor deficit from about -95 to -65, however, CatWalk analysis did not show any major indication of locomotor recovery. This discrepancy might suggest that improvements in static motor functions (such as toe spreading) could reflect an early indicator for the recovery of function. We also noted differences in axon regeneration including increased axon density, smaller axon diameters and thinner myelin sheaths in the distal region of the ANT in comparison to the equivalent region of crushed and normal nerves. This difference in axon regeneration may be related to the clearly improved toe spreading function. We conclude that SSI and CatWalk present different advantages and disadvantages for the assessment of motor recovery after bridge-repair of peripheral nerve defects.
|Journal||Behavioural Brain Research|
|Publication status||Published - 16 May 2011|
- Nerve repair
- Functional recovery
- Autologous nerve transplantation
- Crush injury
- Axon regeneration