In order to compare the extent of axonal regeneration in two surgical nerve repair procedures, we measured the levels of the neurofilament (NF) proteins in the regenerating facial nerve of adult New Zealand rabbits. The animals were operated on bilaterally, with a chamber model placed on one side and a cable graft model inserted on the contralateral side. Normal nerve from unoperated animals or nerve removed during nerve repair surgery served as controls. Using immunoblot techniques and densitometric measurement, we examined specific changes in the individual NF [High (H), Medium (M), and Low (L) molecular weight (MW)] in the regenerating nerve at 3 and 7 weeks postoperation time. Linearity of the densitometric system was established by separation of serial dilutions of known NF on the gel, and blotting for immunostaining. The amount of all 3 NF's decreased during the regeneration process compared to normal nerve, but there were differences between the two procedures. The NFH in the distal segment of the chamber repaired nerve at 7 weeks was 60-70% of the preoperative state, which correlated with a previous morphological study of axonal caliber during regeneration. At 3 weeks, NF content was lower in the distal segment of the chamber than in the distal cable graft. By 7 weeks, NF content was similar in proximal and distal segments of both models. Thus, although initial regeneration is slower in the chamber model, the eventual outcome is similar in both chamber and graft.
- cable nerve graft
- cytoskeletal proteins
- facial nerve
- peripheral nerve regeneration
- regeneration chamber
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology