A more detailed mechanism to explain the "bands of Fontana" in peripheral nerves

Muscle Nerve. 2012 Oct;46(4):540-7. doi: 10.1002/mus.23422.


Introduction: In 1779, Fontana identified transverse and oblique bands along peripheral nerves. Subsequent studies pointed alternatively to endoneural or perineural components as the cause. Our aim was to clarify these conflicting findings.

Methods: Recoiling of the bands of Fontana was video-recorded in the rat sciatic nerve. Computer-assisted design (CAD) software was used to model the nerve by interference figures.

Results: In vivo microdissection showed distinctive, black-and-white, closely packed bands in the perineurium, which differed from the widely spaced, translucent, dark/pale gray, staggered bands in the endoneurium. CAD merging of these 2 patterns produced images resembling the bands observed in vivo.

Conclusions: Two repetitive structures with different characteristics, 1 in the perineurium and the other in the endoneurium, merge to give the appearance of these bands.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Male
  • Neuroanatomy / methods*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology
  • Peripheral Nerves / ultrastructure*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiology
  • Sciatic Nerve / ultrastructure*