Monkey median nerve repaired by nerve graft or collagen nerve guide tube.
Nerve regeneration was followed in 15 median and 1 ulnar nerve of eight Macaca fascicularis monkeys by serial electrophysiological assessments over a period of three and a half years. Nerve gaps of 5 mm at the wrist were bridged by collagen-based nerve guides, nerve autografts, or direct suture repairs. Thenar muscle reinnervation occurred between 50 and 70 d for all groups, indicating axonal elongation rates of approximately 1 mm/d. The recovery rates of the compound muscle action potential (CMAP) and the compound sensory action potential (CSAP) amplitudes were significantly slower after direct suture repair compared to the other two procedures, although the final levels of recovery were all comparable. Similar results were achieved in one median and one ulnar nerve following nerve guide repair of a 15 mm nerve gap. The functional reinnervation of Pacinian corpuscles was detected in all cases following either nerve graft or nerve guide repair, with similar amplitudes and latencies of the tactile evoked CSAP for both types of repair. Histological analysis demonstrated a significant increase in the number of myelinated axons in the median nerve distal to the nerve lesions following both nerve graft and nerve guide repairs compared to proximal and normal controls, with significant reductions of fiber diameter and corresponding increases in g-ratio. The return of a bimodal frequency distribution of myelinated axon fiber diameter was confirmed by three-dimensional surface plots which illustrate the frequency distribution of the relationship between fiber diameter and g-ratio. These combined results demonstrate that nerve regeneration after repair of a 5 mm nerve gap with a collagen nerve guide in the nonhuman primate is similar to that after graft repair, and the final level of physiological recovery for both repair procedures is comparable to direct suture repair of the median nerve.
Archibald, SJ; Shefner, J; Krarup, C; Madison, RD
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