The delivery of an electrical field to a transected nerve has been shown to enhance the regeneration. This study examined the effects of such fields on the regeneration of crushed rat sciatic nerve during the first postoperative month. The treated (T) nerve group received a battery implant delivering 10 μA with the cathode at the distal stump. The recovery was compared to an untreated (UT) group and unoperated controls (C). The loss of locomotion behavior and partial recovery (SFI) was identical for the T and UT groups. The index of motor recovery (twitch tension) was also similar ( T C = 48%, UT C = 53%), but a "window" of enhancement occurred 2-4 days earlier in the T group. Qualitative histology at 28 days suggested a more healthy and normal-appearing nerve in the T group. Morphometric analysis indicated that the nerve area, fiber density, and fiber number in the T group were more similar to those in the control group than to those in the UT group. There were no group differences in the number of HRP-labeled motoneurons, but the enlarged endoneurial space was significantly reduced in the T group compared to the UT group. In conclusion, electrical fields appeared to have a small effect on some aspects of nerve regeneration following crush injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas