Topographical distribution of motor fascicles in the sciatic-tibial nerve of the rat

Muscle Nerve. 2010 Aug;42(2):192-201. doi: 10.1002/mus.21652.


Knowledge of the intraneural topography of peripheral nerves may help to improve nerve repair after injuries and the selectivity of neural interfaces. We studied the fascicular pattern of motor fibers of the rat sciatic-tibial nerve. We carried out an anatomical dissection of the muscular tributaries of the tibial nerve in the leg. Immunohistochemistry against choline acetyltransferase was used to identify motor axons. Retrograde tracing allowed localization of the muscular fascicles at proximal levels of the sciatic trunk. The distribution of motor fibers in transverse section of the tibial nerve is not homogeneous; two clusters were identified, each one containing fibers of functionally related muscles. Retrograde tracing allowed for the identification of motor fascicles, each one well localized along the sciatic nerve. In the rat there is a somatotopic organization of the sciatic nerve, with muscular fascicles maintaining the same relative position along the entire nerve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Neuronal Tract-Tracers
  • Rats
  • Sciatic Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Sciatic Nerve / metabolism


  • Neuronal Tract-Tracers
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase