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Use of aerobic treadmill exercises on nerve regeneration after sciatic nerve injury in spontaneously hypertensive rats

Acta Cir Bras. 2022 Oct 28;37(8):e370804. doi: 10.1590/acb370804. eCollection 2022.


PURPOSE: Various postoperative protocols have been proposed to improve outcomes and accelerate nerve regeneration. Recently, the use of physical exercise in a post-surgical neurorraphy procedure has shown good results when started early. We experimentally investigated the hypothesis that post-operative exercise speeds up results and improves clinical and morphologic parameters.

METHODS: Isogenic rats were randomly divided into four groups: 1 SHAM; 2 SHAM submitted to the exercise protocol (EP); 3 Grafting of the sciatic nerve; and 4 Grafting of the sciatic nerve associated with the EP. The EP was based on aerobic activities with a treadmill, with a progressive increase in time and intensity during 6 weeks. The results were evaluated by the sciatic functional index (SFI), morphometric and morphologic analysis of nerve distal to the lesion, and the number of spinal cord motor neurons, positive to the marker Fluoro-Gold (FG), captured retrogradely through neurorraphy.

RESULTS: Functional analysis (SFI) did not show a statistical difference between the group grafted with (-50.94) and without exercise (-65.79) after 90 days. The motoneurons count (Spinal cord histology) also showed no diference between these groups (834.5 × 833 respectively). Although functionally there is no difference between these groups, morphometric study showed a greater density (53.62) and larger fibers (7.762) in GRAFT group. When comparing both operated groups with both SHAM groups, all values were much lower.

CONCLUSIONS: The experimental model that this aerobic treadmill exercises protocol did not modify nerve regeneration after sciatic nerve injury and repair with nerve graft.

PMID:36327398 | DOI:10.1590/acb370804

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