Biomedical Engineering - Biomechanics
Bachelor of Science
Date of Graduation
There is a pressing need for advancements in peripheral nerve repair techniques and functional recovery evaluation methods. The rat sciatic nerve injury model is a well examined model for peripheral nerve repair. One measure of functional recovery after nerve damage, the sciatic functional index (SFI), fails in the presence of self-mutilation, toe contracture, and other abnormalities in gait. In this IACUC approved study, the sciatic nerve was severed in four experimental groups (n=5). The nerves were repaired with Arginylglycylaspartic acid-poly(ε-caprolactone) (RGD-PCL) peptide functionalized nanofibers, non-functionalized PCL control nanofibers, an isograft, and a negative control empty conduit. Video walking track analysis allowed for a retrospective analysis with three other evaluation techniques: imbalance coupling (IC), stance factor (SF), and toe out angle (TOA). While these techniques are independent of self-mutilation and toe contracture, walking speed remained as a confounding variable. One way repeated measures ANOVA tests showed no significant difference between treatments or subjects in SFI, SF, or TOA. For SFI, 6 and 12 week trials both saw significant increases over time (p=0.00 for both). A significant difference was found between treatments in IC (p=0.03). Imbalance coupling showed promising Pearson correlation with the current industry standard, SFI (p=0.03). In a regression model, SFI over time had an R-squared value of 94.5%. IC, SF, and TOA had low R-squared values. Future investigation with updated protocol is necessary to confirm the degree of correlation and to evaluate the potential for a new industry standard for evaluating nerve repair.
Dr. Rebecca K. Willits
Dr. Lawrence D. Noble
Dr. Brian L. Davis
Costa, Mariah L. and Willits, Rebecca K., "Investigating Alternative Measures of Functional Recovery in Rat Sciatic Nerve Injury" (2019). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 867.