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Identification of adequate vehicles to carry nerve regeneration inducers using tubulisation

Adriana Helena do Nascimento-Elias1, Bruno César Fresnesdas1, Maria Cristina Lopes Schiavoni1, Natália Fernanda Gaspar de Almeida1, Ana Paula Santos2, Jean de Oliveira Ramos1, Wilson Marques Junior1 and Amilton Antunes Barreira13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosciences, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo (USP), Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Federal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM), Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil

3 Departamento de Neurociências, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Av Bandeirantes 3900, CEP: 14049-900, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brasil

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BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:100  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-100

Published: 14 August 2012



Axonal regeneration depends on many factors, such as the type of injury and repair, age, distance from the cell body and distance of the denervated muscle, loss of surrounding tissue and the type of injured nerve. Experimental models use tubulisation with a silicone tube to research regenerative factors and substances to induce regeneration. Agarose, collagen and DMEM (Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium) can be used as vehicles. In this study, we compared the ability of these vehicles to induce rat sciatic nerve regeneration with the intent of finding the least active or inert substance. The experiment used 47 female Wistar rats, which were divided into four experimental groups (agarose 4%, agarose 0.4%, collagen, DMEM) and one normal control group. The right sciatic nerve was exposed, and an incision was made that created a 10 mm gap between the distal and proximal stumps. A silicone tube was grafted onto each stump, and the tubes were filled with the respective media. After 70 days, the sciatic nerve was removed. We evaluated the formation of a regeneration cable, nerve fibre growth, and the functional viability of the regenerated fibres.


Comparison among the three vehicles showed that 0.4% agarose gels had almost no effect on provoking the regeneration of peripheral nerves and that 4% agarose gels completely prevented fibre growth. The others substances were associated with profuse nerve fibre growth.


In the appropriate concentration, agarose gel may be an important vehicle for testing factors that induce regeneration without interfering with nerve growth.

Pharmaceutical vehicle; Agarose; Culture medium; Collagen; Nerves; Peripheral nerves; Nerve regeneration; Neuronal plasticity; Sciatic nerve; Wallerian degeneration