JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY-SCIENCE B, vol.14, no.11, pp.993-1003, 2013 (SCI-Expanded)
Objective: This study aims to investigate the degree of biocompatibility and neuroregeneration of a polymer tube, poly-3-hydroxyoctanoate (PHO) in nerve gap repair. Methods: Forty Wistar Albino male rats were randomized into two groups: autologous nerve gap repair group and PHO tube repair group. In each group, a 10-mm right sciatic nerve defect was created and reconstructed accordingly. Neuroregeneration was studied by sciatic function index (SFI), electromyography, and immunohistochemical studies on Days 7, 21, 45 and 60 of implantation. Biocompatibility was analyzed by the capsule formation around the conduit. Biodegradation was analyzed by the molecular weight loss in vivo. Results: Electrophysiological and histomorphometric assessments demonstrated neuroregeneration in both groups over time. In the experimental group, a straight alignment of the Schwann cells parallel to the axons was detected. However, autologous nerve graft seems to have a superior neuroregeneration compared to PHO grafts. Minor biodegradation was observed in PHO conduit at the end of 60 d. Conclusions: Although neuroregeneration is detected in PHO grafts with minor degradation in 60 d, autologous nerve graft is found to be superior in axonal regeneration compared to PHO nerve tube grafts. PHO conduits were found to create minor inflammatory reaction in vivo, resulting in good soft tissue response.