Restorative neurology and neuroscience

Current-modulated electrical stimulation as a treatment for peripheral nerve regeneration in diabetic rats.

PMID 24595226


To study if electrical stimulation (ES) can be a useful tool to improve functional recovery after neuronal injury in the peripheral nervous system. We studied the effects of 2 Hz of percutaneous ES at different intensities of 1, 10 and 20 mA on peripheral nerve regeneration in rats with diabetes induced by streptozotocin. Non-stimulated diabetic rats were used as the sham-controls. A10-mm gap was made in the rat sciatic nerve by suturing the stumps into silicone rubber tubes and stimulation was carried out every other day for 3 weeks starting 1 week after surgery. After 4 weeks of recovery, the diabetic rats showed that ES of 1 mA or above could increase the cutaneous blood flow in their ipsilateral hindpaw to the injury. ES of 10 mA could improve the amplitude and the area of evoked muscle action potentials with faster target muscle reinnervation. ES of 10 mA could also ameliorate the calcitonin gene-related peptide expression in lamina I-II regions in the dorsal horn ipsilateral to the injury and the number of macrophages in the diabetic distal sciatic nerve. The impaired growth and maturation of regenerating axons in diabetic rat could be improved by ES of 10 mA or above. All these results lead to the conclusion that ES of 10 mA or above might be necessary to improve regeneration after a dissect lesion of the sciatic nerve in the diabetic rat.