Scientific publications

Nerve regeneration through nerve autografts and cold preserved allografts using tacrolimus (FK506) in a facial paralysis model: a topographical and neurophysiological study in monkeys

Apr 1, 2006 | Magazine: Neurosurgery

Hontanilla B, Aubá C, Arcocha J, Gorría O.
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Clínica Universitaria, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

Nerve regeneration through cold preserved nerve allografts is demonstrated, and treatment of nerve allografts with FK506 induces better regeneration than other immunosuppressants. We study nerve regeneration through cold preserved nerve allografts temporarily treated with FK506 and compare it with the regeneration obtained using classic nerve autografts in a facial paralysis model in monkeys.

A trunk of the facial nerve on both sides was transected in eight monkeys and immediately repaired with a 3 to 4 cm nerve autograft or allograft. FK506 was administered to the animals of the allograft group for 2 months, and nerve allografts were cold preserved for 3 weeks. At periods of 3, 5, and 8 months after surgery, quantitative electrophysiological assessment and video recordings were performed. At the end of the study, quantitative analysis of neurons in the facial nucleus was carried out, and axons were stereologically counted.

After the regenerative period, neuronal density was higher in the autograft group. However, distal axonal counts were similar in both groups. Serial electrophysiological recordings and histology of nerve allografts showed that the grafts were partially rejected after cessation of the immunosuppressant.

The regeneration through nerve allografts temporarily treated with FK506 does not achieve the electrophysiological results and neuronal counts achieved with nerve autografts, but axonal collateralization in the allografts induces a similar activation of mimic muscles.

CITATION  Neurosurgery. 2006 Apr;58(4):768-79; discussion 768-79