To observe the effect of ultrashortwave (USW) therapy on nerve regeneration after acellular nerve allografts(ANA) repairing the sciatic nerve gap of rats and discuss its acting mechanisms.Methods
Sixteen Wistar rats weighing 180–220 g were randomly divided into four groups with four rats in each group: normal control group; acellular group (ANA, treated by hypotonic-chemical detergent, was applied for bridging a 10 mm-long sciatic nerve defect); USW group (After 24 h of ANA repairing the sciatic nerve gap, low dose USW was administrated for 7 min, once a day, 20 times a course of treatment, three courses of treatment in all); and autografts group. 12 weeks after operation, a series of examinations was performed, including electrophysiological methods, the restoring rate of tibialis anterior muscle wet weight, histopathological observation (myelinated nerve number, myelin sheath thickness, and axon diameter), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA expression of spinal cord, and muscle at injury site, and analyzed statistically.Results
Compared to acellular nerve allografts alone, USW therapy can increase nerve conductive velocity, the restoring rate of tibialis anterior muscle wet weight, myelinated nerve number, axon diameter, VEGF mRNA expression of spinal cord, and muscle at injury site, the difference is significant. There were no differences between USW group and autografts group except myelin sheath thickness.Conclusions
USW therapy can promote nerve axon regeneration and Schwann cells proliferation after ANA repairing the sciatic nerve gap of rats, the upregulation of VEGF mRNA expression of spinal cord and muscle may play an important role.