Functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury and implantation of a collagen guide.

  • Alluin Olivier
  • Chabas Jean-François
  • Féron François
  • Wittmann C.
  • Marqueste Tanguy
  • Garcia S.
  • Lavaut Mn.
  • Guinard D.
  • Decherchi P.


Although surgery techniques improved over the years, the clinical results of peripheral nerve repair remain unsatisfactory. In the present study, we compare the results of a collagen nerve guide conduit to the standard clinical procedure of nerve autografting to promote repair of transected peripheral nerves. We assessed behavioral and functional sensori-motor recovery in a rat model of peroneal nerve transection. A 1cm segment of the peroneal nerve innervating the Tibialis anterior muscle was removed and immediately replaced by a new biodegradable nerve guide fabricated from highly purified type I+III collagens derived from porcine skin. Four groups of animals were included: control animals (C, n=12), transected animals grafted with either an autologous nerve graft (Gold Standard; GS, n=12) or a collagen tube filled with an acellular skeletal muscle matrix (Tube-Muscle; TM, n=12) or an empty collagen tube (Collagen-Tube; CT, n=12). We observed that 1) the locomotor recovery pattern, analyzed with kinetic parameters and peroneal functional index, was superior in the GS and CT groups; 2) a muscle contraction was obtained in all groups after stimulation of the proximal nerve but the mechanical muscle properties (twitch and tetanus threshold) parameters indicated a fast to slow fiber transition in all operated groups; 3) the muscular atrophy was greater in animals from TM group; 4) the metabosensitive afferent responses to electrically induced fatigue and to two chemical agents (KCl and lactic acid) was altered in GS, CT and TM groups; 5) the empty collagen tube supported motor axonal regeneration. Altogether, these data indicate that motor axonal regeneration and locomotor recovery can be obtained with the insertion of the collagen tube RevolNerv. Future studies may include engineered conduits that mimic as closely as possible the internal organization of uninjured nerve.