Degeneration and regeneration of motor and sensory nerves: a stereological study of crush lesions in rat facial and mental nerves
Barghash, Z.; Larsen, J.O.; Al-Bishri, A.; Kahnberg, K.-E.
International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 42(12): 1566-1574
ISSN/ISBN: 1399-0020 PMID: 23731889 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijom.2013.04.017
The aim of this study was to evaluate the degeneration and regeneration of a sensory nerve and a motor nerve at the histological level after a crush injury. Twenty-five female Wistar rats had their mental nerve and the buccal branch of their facial nerve compressed unilaterally against a glass rod for 30s. Specimens of the compressed nerves and the corresponding control nerves were dissected at 3, 7, and 19 days after surgery. Nerve cross-sections were stained with osmium tetroxide and toluidine blue and analysed using two-dimensional stereology. We found differences between the two nerves both in the normal anatomy and in the regenerative pattern. The mental nerve had a larger cross-sectional area including all tissue components. The mental nerve had a larger volume fraction of myelinated axons and a correspondingly smaller volume fraction of endoneurium. No differences were observed in the degenerative pattern; however, at day 19 the buccal branch had regenerated to the normal number of axons, whereas the mental nerve had only regained 50% of the normal number of axons. We conclude that the regenerative process is faster and/or more complete in the facial nerve (motor function) than it is in the mental nerve (somatosensory function).