American Society for Peripheral Nerve
ASPN Home ASPN Home Past & Future Meetings Past & Future Meetings

Back to 2023 Posters


Effects of Parthenolide on regeneration of the rat median nerve following reconstruction with muscle-in-vein conduits
Jonas Kolbenschlag, Prof. Dr. med.1; Yannik L. Kern, medical student1; Athanasia Filippou, DVM1; Jana Ritter, medical student1; Manuela Büttcher, DVM1; Cosima Prahm, PhD1; Philipp Gobrecht, Dr.2; Dietmar Fischer, Prof. Dr.2; Adrien Daigeler, Prof. Dr.1; Johannes C. Heinzel, Dr. med.1
1University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; 2University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Introduction Segmental nerve defects are devastating injuries that often lead to severe functional impairment, even despite optimal surgical therapy. Autologous nerve grafts (ANGs) remain the gold standard for these situations. However, their overall availability is limited and their use must be weighted against the resulting donor site morbidity. Muscle-in-vein conduits (MVCs) have proven to be a feasible alternative for the reconstruction of short-range, segmental nerve defects, especially of digital nerves. Due to their biological characteristics, e.g. a tendency to collapse over lengths > 2cms, their unfettered equivalence to ANGs has not been proven yet. Thus, ways to improve nerve regeneration through such conduits seem desirable. A single, systemic application of Parthenolid, a natural ingredient of feverfew, significantly improved nerve regeneration in a murine crush injury model of the sciatic nerve. However, its effects in case of segmental nerve injuries or when non-neuronal tissue is used for nerve reconstruction has not been investigated.

Methods In 7–9-week-old male Wistar rats (n=20) weighing about 450 g, the median nerve was resected in one forelimb over a distance of 7 mm. This defect was then reconstructed using a MVC of the same length. In the other forelimb, the median nerve was resected, and the nerve stumps were coapted to the surrounding muscles to prevent spontaneous regeneration. Half of the animals each then received 20 alternating intravenous and intraperitoneal applications of Parthenolide (200ng/kg body weight) or the equivalent amount of the vehicle substance Dimethylsulfoxide over a 12-week observation period. Functional regeneration was evaluated weekly via the grasping test and by means of electrophysiological measurements at the end of the observation period. Following sacrification of the animals twelve weeks postoperatively, the weights of both flexor digitorum superficialis muscles (FDS) were compared and the reconstructed nerve was examined histologically.
Results During the entire observation period no animal in the vehicle group could demonstrate voluntary flexion of the toes on the side reconstructed with a MVC. In the Parthenolide group, on the other hand, 30% of the animals showed such a function 8 weeks postoperatively. After 10 weeks, this proportion increased to 60% (p<0.05) and finally reached 80% (p<0.01) at the end of the observation period. The muscle weight of the FDS was significantly (p<0.05) higher in the Parthenolide group than in the vehicle group.
Conclusion This work demonstrates a statistically significant positive effect of Parthenolide on functional recovery following reconstruction of the rat median nerve with MVCs.


Back to 2023 Posters