Characteristics of cat skeletal muscles grafted with intact nerves or with anastomosed nerves.
Grafting of 3-g extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of cats may be made with (i) severence of the nerve with spontaneous reinnervation, termed standard grafts (ii) severence of the nerve with reinnervation facilitated by anastomosis of the nerve, termed nerve-anastomosed grafts; and (iii) preservation of the nerve, termed nerve-intact grafts. In previous studies, standard grafts developed a maximum isometric tetanic tension (P0) that was 22% of the value for control EDL muscles. We hypothesized that the low values of P0 resulted from incomplete reinnervation of muscle fibers. To test this hypothesis, EDL muscles were grafted in cats with nerves intact and with nerves anastomosed. In standard grafts differences were observed in both structure and function at 120 compared with 240 days after grafting. Characteristics of the nerve-intact and nerve-anastomosed grafts did not change significantly between 120 and 240 days and the data were pooled for comparisons with control EDL muscles. Nerve-anastomosed and nerve-intact grafts developed P0 values that were 34 and 64% of the control values, respectively. Nerve-intact grafts had a mass and fiber cross-sectional area not different from control EDL muscles. Compared with control values, all grafts had fewer fibers, more connective tissue, lower absolute and normalized P0, reduced capillary density, and increased fatigability. The greater P0 of nerve-intact compared with standard and nerve-anastomosed grafts supported our hypothesis that the degree of reinnervation is a factor that limits graft development. The presence of a necrotic core and the low tension development of even the nerve-intact grafts suggested that revascularization is a significant limitation as well.
Faulkner, JA; Markley, JM; McCully, KK; Watters, CR; White, TP
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