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Autologous nerve implantation into denervated monkey skin promotes regeneration of Meissner’s corpuscle

Zhen-Xiang Wang, Dong-Lin Luo, Yu Pan, Liang Chen, Zhe Li, Ling Tao, Xia Dai, Yue-Jun Li, Xue-Yong Li, Shi-Rong Li

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(12): BR377-384

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.882124

Available online: 2011-12-01

Published: 2011-12-01

Background:    The aim of this study was to observe the effects of autologous nerve implantation into the denervated finger flap on the regression and regeneration of sensory nerve endings and Meissner’s corpuscles.
    Material/Methods:    Bilateral nerves of fingers were separated: one was removed and the other was implanted into the denervated finger in the implantation group. In the non-implantation group, both nerves were removed. The ventral skin of fingers was collected for immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after surgery.
    Results:    The nerve endings in the Meissner’s corpuscles began to degenerate 3 months after denervation. The elementary structure of Meissner’s corpuscles was not significantly altered. Nerve fibers were present around the Meissner’s corpuscles, accompanied by growing into its inward. The axons in the denervated nerve disappeared and the Meissner’s corpuscles began to atrophy at month 6. More regenerated nerve fibers were observed after nerve implantation, including intensive and thick fibers, accompanied by reinnervation of Meissner’s corpuscles. More nerve fibers and a higher proportion of myelinated nerve fibers were noted at month 9 in the implantation group, and the reinnervation was present in the majority of Meissner’s corpuscles. Naive myelinated nerve fibers appeared at the caudal end of Meissner’s corpuscles. The nerve fibers in the Meissner’s corpuscles increased to the normal level at 12 months after nerve implantation.
    Conclusions:    The implanted nerve regenerated a large amount of free nerve endings, which helped to regenerate simple Meissner’s corpuscles via governing previously degenerated corpuscles.

Keywords: Prosthesis Implantation, Nerve Regeneration - physiology, Nerve Fibers - transplantation, Mechanoreceptors - ultrastructure, Haplorhini, Electrophysiological Phenomena, Denervation, Animals, Skin - innervation, Transplantation, Autologous