Comparison of immune response to nerve allograft segments in fetal and adult rabbits: A histological study

Agaoglu G., Kayikcioglu A., Sargon M., Erk Y., Mavili E.

ANNALS OF PLASTIC SURGERY, vol.44, no.4, pp.398-404, 2000 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Doi Number: 10.1097/00000637-200044040-00008
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.398-404
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


Fetuses, as opposed to adults, are immature immunologically and it has been proved that they can tolerate allograft materials much better than adults. In this study the rejection phenomenon of nerve allografts was compared histologically in fetuses and adults. The study was performed in 60 New Zealand rabbits (30 pregnant and 30 nonpregnant), and allograft nerve segments were obtained from Chinchilla rabbits. The animals were divided into fetal and adult groups. Each group was studied at various time periods. Nerve allografts were placed under the panniculus carnosus in the interscapular region of the fetuses and adults. In both fetal and adult groups, the nerve allograft segments were assessed histologically after 1, 7, and 30 days. The criteria used during the evaluation were the degenerative findings in the myelinated axons (large, medium, and small axons), changes in Schwann's cells, and the quantity of infiltrating cells. The changes were graded microscopically from 0 (no change) to 3 (severe destruction and cellular infiltration). Cellular infiltration was more extensive in the adult groups than in the fetal groups. Earlier fetal groups showed minimal infiltration, but the response became more extensive in the later fetal groups. This is probably related to the removal of the fetuses from their intrauterine environment. When comparing fetal and adult groups, the results were significant (p < 0.05). The fetuses tolerated the nerve allograft segments better than the adults. This may be related to the immature immune system of the fetuses.