American Society for Peripheral Nerve

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An Optimized Animal Model to Promote Nerve Repair Utilizing Endogenous Autonomic Nervous Discharge
Jing Rui, MD, PhD; Jie Lao, MD, PhD
Huashan Hospital, Shanghai, China

Background: Peripheral nerve degeneration is a complex clinical issue making regeneration of peripheral nerves challenging. Exogenous electrical stimulation has been previously demonstrated to effectively improve axon growth. We hypothesized that endogenous autonomic nervous discharge of the phrenic intercostal nerves may promote nerve regeneration.

Methods: Action potential discharge patterns were examined in diaphragm, external intercostal and latissimus dorsi muscles in rats. Musculocutaneous nerve regeneration recovery was examined after injury by side-to-side transfer of either phrenic, intercostal or thoracic dorsal nerves, with nerve autograft to the anastomosis site.

Results: We found that the phrenic and intercostal nerves showed rhythmic clusters of discharge, consistent with breathing frequency. From the first to the third intercostal nerves, spontaneous discharge amplitude gradually increased. Phrenic and intercostal nerves correlated with receptor nerve at the early stage, a negative correlation in the middle stage and no difference at the later stage.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that the rhythmic clusters of discharge in the phrenic and intercostal nerves showed significant correlation with nerve regeneration at the early stage, which may provide the potential target for nerve regeneration in future preclinical investigations.

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