We compared reinnervation of target organs after sciatic nerve section leaving gaps of 2, 4, 6, or 8 mm or gaps repaired with silicone tubes in different groups of mice. Functional reinnervation was assessed by noninvasive methods to determine recovery of sweating, nociceptive, and muscular functions in the hindpaw repeatedly during 3 months postoperation. The increase of gap length between nerve stumps delayed the beginning and reduced the degree of functional recovery achieved either with or without repair. When lesions were left unrepaired, functional reinnervation was only noticeable with a 2-mm gap and practically absent with longer gaps. With tube repair, reinnervation started earlier and achieved higher values than in the corresponding unrepaired groups. Tubulization was most effective with 4-mm gaps and comparatively less with shorter and longer gaps. With 4 mm gaps, recovery was higher when the silicone tube had a cross-sectional area 2.5 times that of the sciatic nerve than with narrower or wider tubes and when the wall was the thinnest available. In all cases muscle reinnervation showed a lower progression than sweating and nociceptive recovery.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1996|