Neuronal survival, regeneration and musclemorphology after posterior C7 nerve transfer: an experimental study.

CG Zhang, Giorgio Terenghi, C Mantovani, M. Wiberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


C7 nerve transfer has been widely used in treating brachial plexus avulsion injuries. Little is known regarding the survival and regeneration of C7 motor and sensory neurons including their morphological changes after this procedure and also the possible change of muscle fibre phenotype. In this experimental study, the posterior division of C7 nerve was transferred to the musculocutaneous nerve ipsilaterally, and using fluorescent tracing techniques, the C7 spinal cord segment and dorsal root ganglion were found to contain 630.9 +/- 86.7 motor neurons and 3916.0 +/- 517.3 sensory neurons, respectively. Six months following transfer, 90% of the motor neurons and 78% of the sensory neurons survived and approximately 40% of them had regenerated and all displayed normal soma size. After posterior C7 transfer and reinnervation, the target muscles showed a percentage pattern of distribution and mean fibre diameters similar to those seen in normal biceps muscle. The present study suggests that the posterior C7 nerve transfer provides sufficient number of neurons and satisfactory results for regeneration to obtain an acceptable functional recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-725
Number of pages8
JournalJ Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Animals
  • injuries: Brachial Plexus
  • Cell Count
  • physiology: Cell Survival
  • Female
  • Forelimb
  • physiology: Motor Neurons
  • pathology: Muscle Fibers
  • innervation: Muscle, Skeletal
  • surgery: Musculocutaneous Nerve
  • physiology: Nerve Regeneration
  • methods: Nerve Transfer
  • physiology: Neurons
  • physiology: Neurons, Afferent
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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