Functional Evaluation of Complete Sciatic, Peroneal, and Posterior Tibial Nerve Lesions in the Rat
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Quantification of peripheral nerve regeneration in animal studies of nerve injury and repair by histologic, morphologic, and electrophysiologic parameters has been controversial because such studies may not necessarily correlate with actual nerve function. This study modifies the previously described sciatic functional index (SFI), tibial functional index (TFI), and peroneal functional index (PFI) based on multiple linear regression analysis of factors derived from measurements of walking tracks in rats with defined nerve injuries. The factors that contributed to these formulas were print-length factor (PLF), toe-spread factor (TSF), and intermediary toe-spread factor (ITF). It was shown that animals with selective nerve injuries gave walking tracks that were consistent, predictable, and based on known neuromuscular deficits. The new formula for sciatic functional index was compared with previously described indices. The sciatic functional index, tibial functional index, and peroneal functional index offer the peripheral nerve investigator a noninvasive quantitative assessment of hindlimb motor function in the rat with selective hindlimb nerve injury.
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