Growth hormone treatment enhances the functional recovery of sciatic nerves after transection and repair.
INTRODUCTION Although nerves can spontaneously regenerate in the peripheral nervous system without treatment, functional recovery is generally poor, and thus there is a need for strategies to improve nerve regeneration. METHODS The left sciatic nerve of adult rats was transected and immediately repaired by epineurial sutures. Rats were then assigned to one of two experimental groups treated with either growth hormone (GH) or saline for 8 weeks. Sciatic nerve regeneration was estimated by histological evaluation, nerve conduction tests, and rotarod and treadmill performance. RESULTS GH-treated rats showed increased cellularity at the lesion site together with more abundant immunoreactive axons and Schwann cells. Compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude was also higher in these animals, and CMAP latency was significantly lower. Treadmill performance increased in rats receiving GH. CONCLUSION GH enhanced the functional recovery of the damaged nerves, thus supporting the use of GH treatment, alone or combined with other therapeutic approaches, in promoting nerve repair.