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Neuroreport

Differential motor and sensory functional recovery in male but not female adult rats is associated with remyelination rather than axon regeneration after sciatic nerve crush.


PMID 25830493

Abstract

Peripheral nerve functional recovery after injuries relies on both axon regeneration and remyelination. Both axon regeneration and remyelination require intimate interactions between regenerating neurons and their accompanying Schwann cells. Previous studies have shown that motor and sensory neurons are intrinsically different in their regeneration potentials. Moreover, denervated Schwann cells accompanying myelinated motor and sensory axons have distinct gene expression profiles for regeneration-associated growth factors. However, it is unknown whether differential motor and sensory functional recovery exists. If so, the particular one among axon regeneration and remyelination responsible for this difference remains unclear. Here, we aimed to establish an adult rat sciatic nerve crush model with the nonserrated microneedle holders and measured rat motor and sensory functions during regeneration. Furthermore, axon regeneration and remyelination was evaluated by morphometric analysis of electron microscopic images on the basis of nerve fiber classification. Our results showed that Aα fiber-mediated motor function was successfully recovered in both male and female rats. Aδ fiber-mediated sensory function was partially restored in male rats, but completely recovered in female littermates. For both male and female rats, the numbers of regenerated motor and sensory axons were quite comparable. However, remyelination was diverse among myelinated motor and sensory nerve fibers. In detail, Aβ and Aδ fibers incompletely remyelinated in male, but not female rats, whereas Aα fibers fully remyelinated in both sexes. Our result indicated that differential motor and sensory functional recovery in male but not female adult rats is associated with remyelination rather than axon regeneration after sciatic nerve crush.