Stimulation of sciatic nerve regeneration in the adult rat by low-intensity electric current
Morphometric analysis was used to evaluate regeneration in transected sciatic nerves of adult rats constantly stimulated with low-intensity direct current. The ends of the cut nerve were separated by a distance of 5 mm and inserted into a Silastic tube. Histological and electron microscopy criteria were used to measure and evaluate the cross-sectional area and the structure of the bridge connecting the distal and proximal stumps. After 3 weeks of stimulation (10 microA DC with distal cathode) the stimulated animals showed a cross-sectional bridge area twice the size of nonstimulated controls. The number of myelinated and unmyelinated axons, and the vascular areas, were also larger in the experimental group. This is the first quantitative analysis of low-intensity direct current-enhanced peripheral nerve regeneration in adult mammals.