Agmatine treatment and vein graft reconstruction enhance recovery after experimental facial nerve injury

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2005 Sep;10(3):319-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1085-9489.2005.10310.x.


The rate of nerve regeneration is a critical determinant of the degree of functional recovery after injury. Here, we sought to determine whether treatment with the neuroprotective compound, agmatine, with or without nerve reconstruction utilizing a regional autogenous vein graft would accelerate the rate of facial nerve regeneration. Experiments compared the following seven groups of adult male rats: (A) Intact untreated controls. (B) Sham operation with interruption of the nerve blood supply (controls). (C) Transection of the mandibular branch of the facial nerve (generating a gap of 3 mm) followed by saline treatment. (D) Nerve transection with unsutured autogenous vein (external jugular) graft reconstruction plus saline treatment. (E) Nerve transection with sutured vein graft approximation (coaptation of the proximal and distal nerve stumps) plus saline. (F) Nerve transection with sutured vein graft followed by agmatine treatment (four daily intraperitoneal injections of 100 mg/kg agmatine sulfate). (G) Nerve transection with unsutured vein graft followed by agmatine treatment. Functional recovery, as assessed by grading vibrissae movements and by recording nerve conduction velocity and numbers of regenerated axons, indicated that either vein reconstruction or agmatine treatment resulted in accelerated and more complete recovery as compared with controls. But best results were observed in animals that underwent combined treatment, i.e., vein reconstruction plus agmatine injection. We conclude that agmatine treatment can accelerate facial nerve regeneration and that agmatine treatment together with autogenous vein graft offers an advantageous alternative to other facial nerve reconstruction procedures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Agmatine / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / physiopathology
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / surgery*
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Neurofilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reaction Time / radiation effects
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veins / transplantation*
  • Vibrissae / physiology


  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • Agmatine