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Original scientific paper

Rat Sciatic Nerve Crush Injury and Recovery Tracked by Plantar Test and Immunohistochemistry Analysis

Roman Pavić
Michele L. Pavić
Ante Tvrdeić
Ozana K. Tot
Marija Heffer

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An experimental crush injury to the sciatic nerve, with a crush force of 49.2 N (pressure p=1.98x108 Pa), was inflicted in 30 male rats (Wistar). A control group (sham), with the same number of rats, was also operated upon exactly as the experimental group but without the crush injury. We tested the sensory and motor recovery of the sciatic nerve with Hargreaves method, using an apparatus from Ugo Basile, Italy. Testing was continued for both legs of each rat, injured and uninjured, starting preoperatively (0 day), and then 1, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days postoperatively. The same experiment was run simultaneously with the sham group. The Plantar test showed recovery of the sensory and motor function of the sciatic nerve, though not complete recovery, by 28 days. An immunohistochemical experiment was run in parallel with the plantar test on L3-L6 segments of the spinal cord from where the sciatic nerve extends. We used antibodies for Myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG), and gangliosides GD1a and GT1b on the aforesaid part of the spinal cord. The immunohistochemical methods showed changes in sensory and motor axons in the spinal cord segment L3-L6 which suggest correspondence with the results of the Plantar test, in terms of recovery of the sensory and motor function after injury of the sciatic nerve. The immunohistochemical results also show ipsilateral and contralateral changes following injury. Results of the plantar test are suggestive that the rat shows compensation for an injury in its contralateral leg.


sciatic nerve injury; regeneration; Plantar test; Myelin-associated glycoprotein; MAG; ganglioside GD1a; ganglioside GT1b

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