Cells and Materials


The aim of this study was to evaluate functional nerve recovery after reconstruction of a 1 em gap in the sciatic nerve of the rat, with a thin-walled biodegradable poly(DLLA-ε-CL) nerve guide. To evaluate both motor and sensory nerve recovery, walking track analysis and electrostimulation tests were carried out after implantation periods ranging from 3 to 26 weeks post-operatively. The first signs of functional nerve recovery could already be observed after 5 weeks. From the histological analysis, it could be concluded that most of the thin-walled nerve guides had collapsed. Despite collapsing, functional nerve recovery was relatively good after 26 weeks (motor nerve recovery 54% and sensory nerve recovery 100%), probably due to guidance of the regenerating nerve fibers along the outside of the poly(DLLA-ε-CL) nerve guide. This thin-walled nerve guide should, therefore, be used in combination with mechanical support.