A comparison of peripheral nerve regeneration in acellular muscle and nerve autografts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Regeneration of the rat sciatic nerve through acellular muscle and nerve autografts was evaluated 6-28 days postoperatively by the sensory pinch test, immunocytochemical staining for neurofilaments, and light and electron microscopy. Data points generated by the pinch test were plotted against postoperative time periods and by the use of regression analysis the initial delay period for muscle grafts was determined to 10.3 days. This value was similar to that previously published for acellular nerve grafts (9.5 days), but significantly longer than that for fresh nerve grafts (3.6 days). The calculated regeneration rate (slope of the regression line) for muscle grafts (1.8 mm/day) did not differ significantly ( p >0.05) from that calculated for acellular nerve grafts (2.1 mm/day) or for fresh nerve grafts (1.5 mm/day). The front of regenerating axons shown by axonal neurofilament staining confirmed the pinch test results. Both types of acellular grafts were repopulated with host non-neuronal cells and the muscle graft contained occasional ectopic muscle fibres. Remnants of graft basal laminae were evident at the ultrastructural level. These results indicate the suitability of either acellular muscle or nerve grafts for nerve repair despite their prolonged initial delay periods compared with conventional fresh nerve grafts.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Clinical Medicine
  • Surgery


  • acellular, regeneration, autografts, nerve, muscle
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-200
JournalScandinavian Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch