Protective effect of biodegradable nerve conduit against peripheral nerve adhesion after neurolysis
Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVEPeripheral nerve adhesion caused by extraneural and intraneural scar formation after neurolysis leads to nerve dysfunction. The authors previously developed a novel very flexible biodegradable nerve conduit composed of poly(L-lactide) and poly(ε-caprolactone) for use in peripheral nerve regeneration. In the present study, they investigated the effect of protective nerve wrapping on preventing adhesion in a rat sciatic nerve adhesion model.METHODSRat sciatic nerves were randomly assigned to one of the following four groups: a no-adhesion group, which involved neurolysis alone without an adhesion procedure; an adhesion group, in which the adhesion procedure was performed after neurolysis, but no treatment was subsequently administered; a nerve wrap group, in which the adhesion procedure was performed after neurolysis and protective nerve wrapping was then performed with the nerve conduit; and a hyaluronic acid (HA) group, in which the adhesion procedure was performed after neurolysis and nerve wrapping was then performed with a 1% sodium HA viscous solution. Six weeks postoperatively, the authors evaluated the extent of scar formation using adhesion scores and biomechanical and histological examinations and assessed nerve function with electrophysiological examination and gastrocnemius muscle weight measurement.RESULTSIn the adhesion group, prominent scar tissue surrounded the nerve and strongly adhered to the nerve biomechanically and histologically. The motor nerve conduction velocity and gastrocnemius muscle weight were the lowest in this group. Conversely, the adhesion scores were significantly lower, motor nerve conduction velocity was significantly higher, and gastrocnemius muscle weight was significantly higher in the nerve wrap group than in the adhesion group. Additionally, the biomechanical breaking strength was significantly lower in the nerve wrap group than in the adhesion group and HA group. The morphological properties of axons in the nerve wrap group were preserved. Intraneural macrophage invasion, as assessed by the number of CD68- and CCR7-positive cells, was less severe in the nerve wrap group than in the adhesion group.CONCLUSIONSThe nerve conduit prevented post-neurolysis peripheral nerves from developing adhesion and allowed them to maintain their nerve function because it effectively blocked scarring and prevented adhesion-related damage in the peripheral nerves.