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Hydrophilic Polymers Prolong Distal Axon Survival after Allografting
Charles Rodriguez-Feo, BS; Kevin Sexton, MD; L. B. Nanney, PhD; Bruce Shack, MD; W. P. Thayer, MD, PhD; Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Hydrophilic Polymers Prolong Distal Axon Survival after Allografting

Background:Polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been shown to improve nerve electrophysiology and behavioral outcomes in animal models after traumatic peripheral neuropathy. Our hypothesis was the mechanism of improvement was increased axon survival and we sought to demonstrate this.

Methods: Bilateral sciatic nerves were harvested from 3 Sprague-Dawley rats and placed into Plasma-lyte A with 100 μM MB (experimental, n=3) or Lactated Ringers (control, n=3) and stored at 7C for 48 hours. The nerves were implanted into a separate Sprague-Dawley rat where a 5 mm segment of sciatic nerve was removed. Plasma-lyte A (Baxter: Deerfield, IL), 1% Methylene Blue in distilled water, and 50% by weight solutions of PEG in distilled water were applied to the coaptation sites for one minute each in experimental animals. Control animals received all solutions minus PEG. The rats were then sacrificed at 7 days post nerve implantation. The proximal sciatic nerve, allograft, and distal sciatic nerve were removed, fixed, sectioned, and underwent immunohistochemical staining for carbonic anhydrase 2 and cholineacetyltransferase for sensory and motor axons, respectively.

Results:Image J was then used to obtain an axonal count from the proximal sciatic nerve segments, the allograft segments, and the distal nerve segments. Prism (Graphpad; La Jolla, CA) was used to perform Student's t test and it was found that there was not statistically significant difference in the numbers of axons in the proximal nerve (p = .5707) and allograft (p = .0725), however there was a statistically significant difference in the number of axons distal to the graft (p = .0034)

Conclusions:PEG prolongs distal axon survival after allografting.

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