Unilateral sciatic nerve injury stimulates contralateral nerve regeneration

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AXONAL outgrowth in tissue cultures was measured to determine whether unilateral peripheral nerve injuries affect contralateral nerve regeneration. The right sciatic nerves of young male Wister rats were cut at mid-thigh level. Sham operation as a control was limited to the exposure of the nerve without cutting. At day 6 post-surgery, bilateral L5 dorsal root ganglia (DRG) with attached nerve stumps were resected and cultured. Axonal outgrowth from the nerve stump was measured in situ. The contralateral preparations showed longer outgrowths than controls. Therefore the conditioning effect was not merely restricted to the ipsilateral neurons but also affected undamaged sensory neurons of the contralaretal DRG.

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