The restoration of effective and meaningful axonal function following peripheral nerve injury continues to be a considerable clinical challenge. The use of conduits to bridge the gap between severed ends is a contemporary experimental maneuver that isolates the microenvironment of regenerating axons. Entubulation has allowed analysis and manipulation of putative influences upon nerve regeneration. A review is of the research efforts that have the neurobiological and mechanical factors that guide nerve regeneration within conduits. Levels of specificity, from tissue specific growth to end-organ specific growth, are outlined within the framework of the theories of Neurotropism, Contact Guidance and Neurotrophism. Included are investigations utilizing different conduit materials and the few clinical applications of these conduits. A number of chamber manipulations, extra-cellular matrix substrates and growth factors and their molecular receptors have been implicated in enhanced regeneration specificity. This information has been extended to the conduit model. The interposition of healthy nerve segments into conduits is proposed as a means of extending the length of successful nerve regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-84
Number of pages38
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Conduit
  • Contact guidance
  • Entubulation
  • Nerve interposition
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Neuronotrophic factors
  • Neurotropism


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