Peripheral nerve and neuromuscular allotransplantation: Current status
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Some major peripheral nerve deficits in otherwise salvageable extremities are unreconstructable with autogenous nerve grafts because of their limited availability. Peripheral nerve allotransplantation has been attempted experimentally and clinically for more than a century. It is only since the advent of the immunophyllin-immunosuppressive agents (Cyclosporin A and FK506) that nerve regeneration across allografts has been comparable to that observed across autografts. Experimental studies have demonstrated excellent regeneration through nerve allografts with recipient CsA and FK506 immunosuppression given continuously and for limited periods. This permitted the development of a clinical trial. To date, seven patients received major nerve reconstructions with nerve allografts under temporary immunosuppression; six have had sensory recovery; three motor recovery; and one no recovery due to rejection. The experimental and clinical work will be reviewed and relevance to composite tissue allotransplantation discussed.
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