Transgenic mice have been previously used to assess nerve regeneration following peripheral nerve injury. However, mouse models are limited by their small caliber nerves, short nerve lengths, and their inability to fully participate during behavioral assessments. The transgenic Thy1 GFP rat is a novel transgenic rat model designed to assess regeneration following peripheral nerve injury. However, return of functional and behavioral recovery following nerve injury has not yet been evaluated in these rats. In this study, we ask whether differences in anatomy, recovery of locomotion, myological, and histomorphological measures exist between transgenic Thy1 GFP rats when compared to wild type (WT) Sprague Dawley rats following unilateral sciatic nerve injury. We found that both motor and sensory neuronal architecture, overground and skilled locomotion, muscle force, motor unit number estimation (MUNE) and wet muscle weights, and histomorphometric assessments are similar between both genetic phenotypes. Overall, these data support the use of the transgenic Thy1-GFP rat in experiments assessing functional and behavioral recovery following nerve injury and repair.
Keywords: functional recovery; nerve injury; nerve regeneration; skilled locomotion; transgenic rat.
© 2013 Peripheral Nerve Society.