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Far-Infrared Therapy Promotes Nerve Repair following End-to-End Neurorrhaphy in Rat Models of Sciatic Nerve Injury

 

Tai-Yuan Chen,1 Yi-Chin Yang,2 Ya-Na Sha,3 Jiun-Rou Chou,3 and Bai-Shuan Liu3

1Department of Radiology, Chi Mei Medical Center, Liouying, Tainan 736, Taiwan
2Department of Neurosurgery, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung 40705, Taiwan
3Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Sciences, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology,
Taichung 40601, Taiwan

Correspondence should be addressed to Bai-Shuan Liu; [email protected]

Received 26 November 2014; Revised 22 January 2015; Accepted 23 January 2015

Academic Editor: Ruixin Zhang

Copyright © 2015 Tai-Yuan Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

This study employed a rat model of sciatic nerve injury to investigate the effects of postoperative low-power far-infrared (FIR) radiation therapy on nerve repair following end-to-end neurorrhaphy. The rat models were divided into the following 3 groups: (1) nerve injury without FIR biostimulation (NI/sham group); (2) nerve injury with FIR biostimulation (NI/FIR group); and (3) noninjured controls (normal group). Walking-track analysis results showed that the NI/FIR group exhibited significantly higher sciatic functional indices at 8 weeks after surgery (𝑃 < 0.05) compared with the NI/sham group. The decreased expression of CD4 and CD8 in the NI/FIR group indicated that FIR irradiation modulated the inflammatory process during recovery. Compared with the NI/sham group, the NI/FIR group exhibited a significant reduction in muscle atrophy (𝑃 < 0.05). Furthermore, histomorphometric assessment indicated that the nerves regenerated more rapidly in the NI/FIR group than in the NI/sham group; furthermore, the NI/FIR group regenerated neural tissue over a larger area, as well as nerve fibers of greater diameter and with thicker myelin sheaths. Functional recovery, inflammatory response, muscular reinnervation, and histomorphometric assessment all indicated that FIR radiation therapy can accelerate nerve repair following end-to-end neurorrhaphy of the sciatic nerve.

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