Polyethylene glycol (PEG) and other bioactive solutions with neurorrhaphy for rapid and dramatic repair of peripheral nerve lesions by PEG-fusion

BACKGROUND: Nervous system injuries in mammals often involve transection or segmental loss of peripheral nerves. Such injuries result in functional (behavioral) deficits poorly restored by naturally occurring 1-2 mm/d axonal outgrowths aided by primary repair or reconstruction. "Neurorrhaphy" or nerve repair joins severed connective tissues, but not severed cytoplasmic/plasmalemmal extensions (axons) within the tissue. NEW METHOD: PEG-fusion consists of neurorrhaphy combined with a well-defined sequence of four pharmaceutical agents in solution, one containing polyethylene glycol (PEG), applied directly to closely apposed viable ends of severed axons. RESULTS: PEG-fusion of rat sciatic nerves: (1) restores axonal continuity across coaptation site(s) within minutes, (2) prevents Wallerian degeneration of many distal severed axons, (3) preserves neuromuscular junctions, (4) prevents target muscle atrophy, (5) produces rapid and improved recovery of voluntary behaviors compared with neurorrhaphy alone, and (6) PEG-fused allografts are not rejected, despite no tissue-matching nor immunosuppression. COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: If PEG-fusion protocols are not correctly executed, the results are similar to that of neurorrhaphy alone: (1) axonal continuity across coaptation site(s) is not re-established, (2) Wallerian degeneration of all distal severed axons rapidly occurs, (3) neuromuscular junctions are non-functional, (4) target muscle atrophy begins within weeks, (5) recovery of voluntary behavior occurs, if ever, after months to levels well-below that observed in unoperated animals, and (6) allografts are either rejected or not well-accepted. CONCLUSION: PEG-fusion produces rapid and dramatic recovery of function following rat peripheral nerve injuries.

Publication Date:
Dec 23 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
Journal of Neuroscience Methods
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-07-11

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