Electrical Nerve Stimulation Enhances Perilesional Branching after Nerve Grafting but Fails to Increase Regeneration Speed in a Murine Model

Christian Witzel, Thomas M. Brushart, Georgios Koulaxouzidis, Manfred Infanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Electrical stimulation immediately following nerve lesion helps regenerating axons cross the subsequently grafted nerve repair site. However, the results and the mechanisms remain open to debate. Some findings show that stimulation after crush injury increases axonal crossing of the repair site without affecting regeneration speed. Others show that stimulation after transection and fibrin glue repair doubles regeneration distance. Methods Using a sciatic-nerve-transection-graft in vivo model, we investigated the morphological behavior of regenerating axons around the repair site after unilateral nerve stimulation (20 Hz, 1 hour). With mice expressing axonal fluorescent proteins (thy1-YFP), we were able to calculate the following at 5 and 7 days: percentage of regenerating axons and arborizing axons, branches per axon, and regeneration distance and speed. Results Brief stimulation significantly increases the percentage of regenerating axons (5 days: 35.5 vs. 27.3% nonstimulated, p < 0.05; 7 days: 43.3 vs. 33.9% nonstimulated, p < 0.05), mainly by increasing arborizing axons (5 days: 49.3 [4.4] vs. 33.9 [4.1]% [p < 0.001]; 7 days: 42.2 [5.6] vs. 33.2 [3.1]% [p < 0.001]). Neither branches per arborizing axon nor regeneration speed were affected. Conclusion Our morphological data analysis revealed that electrical stimulation in this model increases axonal crossing of the repair site and promotes homogeneous perilesional branching, but does not affect regeneration speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of reconstructive microsurgery
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Keywords

  • branching
  • electrical nerve stimulation
  • morphology
  • regeneration speed
  • thy1-YFP mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Electrical Nerve Stimulation Enhances Perilesional Branching after Nerve Grafting but Fails to Increase Regeneration Speed in a Murine Model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this