Rat-derived processed nerve allografts support more axon regeneration in rat than human-derived processed nerve xenografts

Matthew D. Wood, Stephen W.P. Kemp, Edward H. Liu, Mark Szynkaruk, Tessa Gordon, Gregory H. Borschel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Processed nerve allografts are increasingly used as "off the shelf" nerve replacements for surgically bridging nerve gaps. Benchmarking the regenerative capacity of a commercially available human-derived nerve or xenograft in a rat nerve injury model would provide a convenient platform for future studies seeking to modify the processed nerve graft. Human and rat processed nerve grafts were used to bridge a 14 mm defect in a Sprague-Dawley rat sciatic nerve. Reversed autografts served as a positive control group. Twelve weeks following surgery, the distal nerve stumps were retrograde labeled and harvested for histology and histomorphometry. The cross-sectional areas of the human- and rat-derived processed nerve grafts were similar. Neuron counts and myelinated axon counts following use of the human-derived processed xenografts were decreased compared with those obtained from both the rat-derived processed nerve allografts and the autografts; the rat-derived processed nerve allografts were statistically equivalent to autografts. Measures of nerve fiber diameter and myelination revealed inferior axon regeneration maturity in both processed nerve grafts compared with autografts. Processed xenografts showed significantly reduced regeneration compared with autografts or processed allografts indicating that cross-species immunological reactions are important considerations in this rat model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1091
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • decellularized tissue
  • nerve graft
  • nerve injury
  • nerve regeneration
  • peripheral nerve


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