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Expression of Nerve Growth Factor and its Receptor in Distracted Tibial Nerve after Limb Lengthening

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Despite many experimental and clinical studies conducted on distraction osteogenesis (DO) in the past decade, changes in the surrounding tissues that occur after the procedure remains poorly understood. To study the biochemical changes of recovery in nerve tissues upon DO‐induced nerve injury, we prepared a rabbit model of tibia lengthening to observe the expression pattern of nerve growth factor (NGF) and low‐affinity NGF receptor (p75NGFR) in the distracted tibial nerve. The distracted tibial nerve was harvested at various time points during the consolidation period of new bone formation and immunohistochemical staining was performed to detect the expression of NGF and p75NGFR. The expression levels of NGF and p75NGFR were found to be different at various times after DO. The changes in expression of these two cellular factors show similar tendencies with significantly elevated expression in Schwann cells at 7 and 14 days after distraction, but low or undetectable levels of expression at 0, 28, and 56 days. These results suggest that NGF and p75NGFR may play important roles in the adaptive process of the distracted nerve. NGF and p75NGFR are autocrine growth factors present in the distracted nerve during the early consolidation period. NGF interacts with p75NGFR to promote damage repair and reconstruction of nerves. Together, this study furthers the understanding of the relative mechanisms of nerve repair, as well as provides a further basis for the clinical application of neurotrophins. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Tian Jin Medical University, Tian Jin 300070, People's Republic of China 2: Department of Orthopaedic, Tian Jin Hospital, Tian Jin 300211, People's Republic of China

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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