Background. Conservative treatment, such as electrical stimulation and steroid injection, have been employed in an attempt to improve symptoms after peripheral nerve injury, without significant success. Although non-invasive and safe extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) can be a practical alternative, the therapeutic effects of ESWT on peripheral nerve remyelination has not been established. Objectives. To investigate the effects of ESWT on peripheral nerve remyelination and gait function for 5 weeks in a sciatic nerve crush model. Material and methods. In total, we divided 97 rats into 5 groups: group 1 - a healthy negative control group; group 2 - 3 weeks after sciatic nerve crush and 3 sessions of ESWT; group 3 - 5 weeks after crush injury with 3 sessions of ESWT; group 4 - 3 weeks after crush injury with no ESWT; and group 5 - 5 weeks after crush injury with no ESWT. The focused ESWT was applied to the unilateral sciatic nerve injury site. One session consisted of 1,500 stimuli, and the session were performed at intervals of 1 week. Results. The degree of myelination and expression of myelin basic protein at the distal part of the injured sciatic nerve tended to increase in the ESWT groups compared with the no-ESWT groups 3 and 5 weeks after crush injury. Regarding the functional gait recovery, the print width and area of the injured leg in the ESWT groups was significantly larger than that in the no-ESWT groups 3 and 5 weeks after crush injury. Conclusions. The ESWT may enhance peripheral nerve remyelination and gait function in a nerve crush model. Long-term follow-up after ESWT and investigation of molecular mechanisms will be needed to confirm these therapeutic effects.
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
- Myelin basic protein
- Peripheral nerve injuries