Despite advances in microsurgery, full functional recovery of severe peripheral nerve injuries is not commonly attained. The sheep appears as a good preclinical model since it presents nerves with similar characteristics to humans. In this study, we induced 5 or 7 cm resection in the peroneal nerve and repaired with an autograft. Functional evaluation was performed monthly. Electromyographic and ultrasound tests were performed at 6.5 and 9 months postoperation (mpo). No significant differences were found between groups with respect to functional tests, although slow improvements were seen from 5 mpo. Electrophysiological tests showed compound muscle action potentials (CMAP) of small amplitude at 6.5 mpo that increased at 9 mpo, although they were significantly lower than the contralateral side. Ultrasound tests showed significantly reduced size of tibialis anterior (TA) muscle at 6.5 mpo and partially recovered size at 9 mpo. Histological evaluation of the grafts showed good axonal regeneration in all except one sheep from autograft 7 cm (AG7) group, while distal to the graft there was a higher number of axons than in control nerves. The results indicate that sheep nerve repair is a useful model for investigating long-gap peripheral nerve injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1333
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2023


  • large animal model
  • long gap
  • nerve injury
  • nerve regeneration
  • sheep
  • Sciatic Nerve/injuries
  • Peroneal Nerve
  • Nerve Regeneration/physiology
  • Humans
  • Peripheral Nerves/physiology
  • Axons
  • Animals
  • Sheep
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries/therapy


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