Scarring impedes regeneration at sites of peripheral nerve repair

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We have investigated the effect of scarring at a site of peripheral nerve repair by comparing regeneration of the sciatic nerve in normal mice and two transgenic strains with an increased or decreased propensity for scarring. The outcome was assessed by quantifying collagen at the repair site, recording compound action potentials and counting myelinated nerve fibres on each side of the repair. We found that higher levels of collagen scar formation were associated with smaller compound action potentials, slower conduction velocities and a reduction in fibre numbers across the repair site. We conclude that scarring impedes regeneration at sites of nerve repair and suggest that this could be amenable to therapeutic manipulation.

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