Phrenic nerve transfer in the treatment of brachial plexus avulsion: An experimental study of nerve regeneration and muscle morphology in rats

Authors

  • Cheng-Gang Zhang M.D.,

    1. Department of Hand and Plastic Surgery, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden
    2. Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Anatomy, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
    3. Department of Hand Surgery, Hua Shan Hospital, Fudan University Medical Center, Shanghai, China
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  • Jian-Jun Ma M.D., Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Hand and Plastic Surgery, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden
    2. Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Anatomy, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
    3. Department of Hand Surgery, Hua Shan Hospital, Fudan University Medical Center, Shanghai, China
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  • Giorgio Terenghi Ph.D.,

    1. Blond-Mcindoe Research Laboratories, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
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  • Cristina Mantovani B.Sc.,

    1. Blond-Mcindoe Research Laboratories, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
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  • Mikael Wiberg M.D., Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Hand and Plastic Surgery, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden
    2. Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Anatomy, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
    • Department of Hand and Plastic Surgery, University Hospital, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden
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  • This paper was presented in part at the Swedish National Hand Surgery Meeting in Umeå, Sweden, March 13–14, 2003.

Abstract

The regeneration of motor and sensory neurons and the morphological changes of the target muscle after phrenic nerve transfer were investigated in adult rats. Six months following nerve transfer, 326.0 ± 16.31 phrenic motoneurons regenerated into musculocutaneous nerve, which is not different from the normal number of phrenic motoneurons. The regenerated motoneurons exhibited a 14% nonsignificant hypertrophy. Of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons, 255.8 ± 45.26 regenerated, which was significantly lower than the number of normal phrenic DRG neurons. The regenerated phrenic DRG neurons showed a 24% close-to-significant atrophy. The target muscle fiber morphology changed considerably after reinnervation. The present results suggest that the phrenic nerve has very good regenerative ability in terms of its motoneurons and a relatively insufficient sensory neuronal regeneration. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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