Repairing the ventral root is sufficient for simultaneous motor and sensory recovery in multiple complete cervical root transection injuries

Yi-Lo Lin, Kai-Ting Chang, Chi-Te Lin, May-Jywan Tsai, Yun-An Tsai, Yi-Yen Lee, Shu-Chin Chien, Wen-Cheng Huang, Yang-Hsin Shih, Henrich Cheng, Ming-Chao Huang
Life Sciences 2014 July 25, 109 (1): 44-9

AIM: In multiple cervical root transection injuries, motor and sensory recovery has been demonstrated after repairing both dorsal and ventral roots with autologous grafts applied to the dorsal and ventral aspects, respectively. However, in clinical situations, autologous grafts may not be sufficient to repair both roots in this situation. In this study, the authors evaluated whether repairing ventral root alone is sufficient for simultaneous sensory and motor function recovery.

MAIN METHODS: In the transected group, the left 6th-8th cervical roots were pulled and transected at the spinal cord junction. In the repair group, the transected root was anastomosed to a single autologous nerve graft, which was inserted into the ventral horn through a pial incision. Acidic fibroblast growth factor mixed with fibrin glue was applied to the surgical area. Motor function, sensory function, cortical somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs), axon tracing, and CGRP(+) fibers were evaluated.

KEY FINDINGS: The repaired rats exhibited simultaneous sensory and motor function recovery. At the 16th weeks, SSEPs reappeared in all animals of the repair group, but not in the transected group. Retrograde axon tracing demonstrated an increased number of sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglia and regenerating nerve fibers in the dorsal horn. CGRP(+) fibers were significantly increased in the repair group and restricted to laminae I and II.

SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first report that in multiple root avulsions with insufficient grafts, repairing ventral roots alone leads to both sensory recovery and motor recovery. This finding may help patients with multiple cervical root avulsions.

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