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Open Access Research article

Sensory response following knee joint damage in rabbits

Joseph M Hart12*, Matthew Bessette2, Luke Choi2, MaCalus V Hogan2 and David Diduch2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Kinesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA

2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia, BOX 800159, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:139  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-139

Published: 28 April 2014



Altered sensory information arising from damaged knee joint structures has been hypothesized as a contributing factor to persistent muscle dysfunction following injury.


Composite femoral nerve sensory signal was measured in 24 rabbits randomly allocated (8 per group) to receive surgical anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) transection with or without autograft reconstruction or nothing (control). Two-weeks after the intervention composite afferent signals were recorded from the femoral nerve. Side-to-side ratios (surgical side vs contralateral healthy side) for peak femoral nerve afferent composite signal were used for comparison.


Femoral nerve afferent signal ratios were significantly higher in the ACL-R (2.21 ± 0.74) group when compared to the ACL-T (1.28 ± 0.61, P = 0.02) group and Control group (1.31 ± 0.78, P = 0.03).


The magnitude of sensory information recorded on the femoral nerve is increased following ACL injury and reconstruction surgery, but not after an isolated ACL injury in rabbits.

Femoral nerve; Afferent; Anterior cruciate ligament; Reconstruction