Traumatic nerve injuries result in substantial functional loss and segmental nerve defects often necessitate the use of autologous interposition nerve grafts. Due to their limited availability and associated donor side morbidity, many studies in the field of nerve regeneration focus on alternative techniques to bridge a segmental nerve gap. In order to investigate the outcomes of surgical or pharmacological experimental treatment options, the rat sciatic nerve model is often used as a bioassay. There are a variety of outcome measurements used in rat models to determine the extent of nerve regeneration. The maximum output force of the target muscle remains the most relevant outcome for clinical translation of experimental therapies. Isometric force measurement of tetanic muscle contraction has previously been described as a reproducible and valid technique for evaluating motor recovery after nerve injury or repair in both rat and rabbit models. In this video, we will provide a step-by-step instruction of this invaluable procedure for assessment of functional recovery of the tibialis anterior muscle in a rat sciatic nerve defect model using optimized parameters. We will describe the necessary pre-surgical preparations in addition to the surgical approach and dissection of the common peroneal nerve and tibialis anterior muscle tendon. The isometric tetanic force measurement technique will be detailed. Determining the optimal muscle length and stimulus pulse frequency is explained and measuring the maximum tetanic muscle contraction is demonstrated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)