PURPOSE: To evaluate the capacity of natural latex membrane to accelerate and improve the regeneration quality of the of rat sciatic nerves. METHODS: Forty male adult Wistar rats were used, anesthetized and operated to cut the sciatic nerve and receive an autograft or a conduit made with a membrane derived from natural latex (Hevea brasiliensis). Four or eight weeks after surgery, to investigate motor nerve recovery, we analyzed the neurological function by walking pattern (footprints analysis and computerized treadmill), electrophysiological evaluation and histological analysis of regenerated nerve (autologous nerve graft or tissue cables between the nerve stumps), and anterior tibial and gastrocnemius muscles. RESULTS: All functional and morphological analysis showed that the rats transplanted with latex conduit had a better neurological recovery than those operated with autologous nerve: quality of footprints, performance on treadmill (p<0.01), electrophysiological response (p<0.05), and quality of histological aspects on neural regeneration. CONCLUSION: The data reported showed behavioral and functional recovery in rats implanted with latex conduit for sciatic nerve repair, supporting a complete morphological and physiological regeneration of the nerve.
Nerve Regeneration; Latex; Tissue Engineering; Rats