Inside-out vs. standard vein graft to repair a sensory nerve in rats
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Nerve regeneration in a sensory nerve was obtained by the application of different techniques: inside-out vein graft (IOVG group) and standard vein graft (SVG group). These techniques provide a good microenvironment for axon regeneration in motor nerves, but their efficiency for regeneration of sensory nerves is controversial. The saphenous nerve was sectioned and repaired by the inside-out and standard vein graft techniques in rats. After 4, 12, and 20 weeks the graft and the distal stump were observed under electron microscopy. In each studied period, the pattern, diameters, and thickness of the myelin sheaths of the regenerated axons were measured in the graft and distal stump. A comparative study about the regenerated nerve fibers by these two different techniques was performed. Regenerated nerve fibers were prominent in both vein grafts 4 weeks after the surgical procedures. On the other hand, in the distal stump, regenerated nerve fibers were observed only from 12 weeks. In both inside-out vein graft and standard vein graft statistical difference was not observed about the diameters and thickness of the myelinated fibers after 20 weeks. On the other hand, the inside-out group had greater regenerated axon number when compared to the standard group. There is a capillary invasion in both graft and distal stump, especially in the IOVG group. The regenerated axons follow these capillaries all the time like satellite microfascicles. After 20 weeks, the diameters of regenerated fibers repaired by the standard vein graft technique were closer to the normal fibers compared to the inside-out vein graft. On the other hand, the pattern of these regenerated axons was better in the IOVG group.
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