Regeneration of the hepatic nerves following surgical denervation of the liver in dogs


Department of Surgery, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Kitasato 1–15-1, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 228, Japan


ABSTRACT— This study was conducted to examine the regeneration process of hepatic nerves following surgical hepatic denervation in dogs. A denervation model was surgically created by removing all visible nerves around the hepatoduodenal ligament along with the peri-hepatic tissues. The hepatic nerves were examined on the hepatic specimens taken at 1 week, 1 month and 3 months post-denervation by means of immuno-histochemical staining, and also electron microscopy. At 1 week post-denervation, the extrinsic hepatic nerves were observed not to have regenerated. However, at 1 month post-denervation, GAP-43-positive nerves were identified and regenerating axons were shown to be present on electron microscopic observation. The immunoreactivity for anti-GAP-43 antibody was not shown any longer at 3 months post-denervation, and the regenerated nerve axons were shown to be similar to those at pre-denervation on ultrastructural study. Results of the present study suggested that regeneration of the extrinsic hepatic nerves began to appear about 1 month after the hepatic denervation, and was completed by 3 months post-denervation.