Article

Confocal imaging of Schwann-cell migration along muscle-vein combined grafts used to bridge nerve defects in the rat.

Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Biologiche, Università di Torino, Ospedale San Luigi, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano, Torino, Italy.
Microsurgery (Impact Factor: 1.62). 02/2001; 21(4):153-5. DOI: 10.1002/micr.1029
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Schwann cells guide axonal regrowth during peripheral nerve repair. In a case of a nerve lesion with substance loss, a graft conduit is necessary to enable axons to reach the distal nerve stump. If a non-nervous autograft is used, the question arises as to the presence and origin of Schwann cells along the grafted tube. We addressed this issue using a tubulization technique based on the use of an autologous vein filled with fresh skeletal muscle for the repair of sciatic nerve defects in the rat. We showed that both ends of the graft were early and progressively colonized by a number of glial fibrillar acid protein-immunopositive and S-100 immunonegative cells, an immunocytochemical pattern typical of immature Schwann cells. These cells, which were located in the interstice between grafted skeletal muscle fibers, are mainly organized into long chains oriented along the main axis of the graft and progressively colonize all the graft. Schwann cells coming from the distal nerve end are suitable for being responsible for guiding regeneration of nerve fibers along the graft toward the correct periphery (tissue specificity).

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    ABSTRACT: The use of autologous sural nerve grafts is still the current gold standard for the repair of peripheral nerve injuries with wide substance losses, but with a poor rate of functional recovery after repair of mixed and motor nerves, a limited donor nerve supply, and morbidity of donor site. At present, tubulization through the muscle vein combined graft, is a viable alternative to the nerve autografts and certainly is a matter of tissue engineering still open to continuous development, although this technique is currently limited to a critical gap of 3 cm with less favorable results for motor function recovery. In this report, we present a completely new tubulization method, the amnion muscle combined graft (AMCG) technique, that consists in the combination of the human amniotic membrane hollow conduit with autologous skeletal muscle fragments for repairing the substance loss of peripheral nerves and recover both sensory and motor functions. In a series of five patients with loss of substance of the median nerve ranging 3–5 cm at the wrist, excellent results graded as S4 in two cases, S3+ in two cases, and S3 in one case; M4 in four cases and M3 in one case were achieved. No iatrogenic damage due to withdrawal of a healthy nerve from donor site was observed. This technique allows to repair extensive loss of substance up to 5 cm with a good sensory and motor recovery. The AMCG thus may be considered a reasonable alternative to traditional nerve autograft in selected clinical conditions. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery, 2014.
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    ABSTRACT: Background Muscle-in-vein conduits are a good alternative solution to nerve autografts for bridging peripheral nerve defects since enough graft material is available and no loss of sensation at the harvesting area is expected. The purpose of this study was to compare regeneration results after digital nerve reconstruction with muscle-in-vein conduits, nerve autografts, or direct suture.Patients and Methods46 patients with 53 digital nerve injuries of the hand subjected to direct suture (n = 22) or reconstruction of 1-6cm long defects with either nerve autografts (n = 14) or muscle-in-vein conduits (n = 17) between 2008 and 2012, were examined using the two-point discrimination and Semmes-Weinstein Monofilaments.ResultsThe follow-up examinations took place 12 to 58 months after surgery. A median reduction of sensibility of 2 Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments compared with intact digits was observed after direct suture (DS) and of 2.5 and 2 Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments after reconstruction with autologous nerve grafts (ANG) and muscle-in-vein conduits (MVC), respectively. No statistically significant differences between all three groups could be found with a significance level set by a P < 0.006 (PDS-ANG = 0.24, PDS-MVC = 0.03, PANG-MVC = 0.52). After harvesting a nerve graft, reduction of sensibility at the donor site occurred in 10 of 14 cases but only in one case after harvesting a muscle-in-vein conduit.Conclusions Muscle-in-vein conduits may be a good alternative solution to autografts for the reconstruction of digital nerves, since no significant differences could be demonstrated between the two methods. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery, 2014.
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