Peripheral nerve regeneration using acellular nerve grafts

Byung Soo Kim, James J. Yoo, Anthony Atala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Long gap peripheral nerve injuries usually require a graft to facilitate axonal regeneration into the distal nerve stump. The use of autografts is often limited because of graft availability and donor-site morbidity. We investigated whether acellular nerve allografts would provide an appropriate channel for the promotion and induction of sciatic nerve regeneration in rats. Axons sprouted from the proximal portion and reached the distal portion in the 1 cm-long grafts by 1 month. The number of axons in the regenerated nerves was similar to that of normal nerves at 1 month. Loading the grafts with βNGF and VEGF increased the number and mean diameter of axons and neovascularization in the regenerated nerves at 1 month. The motor conduction velocity increased over time and reached 63 ± 10% of that of normal nerves at 6 months. The nerve injuries treated with the acellular grafts had a significant improvement in motor, nociception, and proprioception function compared to untreated nerves. The results from this study suggest that acellular nerve allografts may be a useful biomaterial for functional peripheral nerve regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


  • Acellular collagen matrix
  • Growth factors
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Neural function
  • Peripheral nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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