A Rabbit Model for Peripheral Nerve Reconstruction Studies Avoiding Automutilation Behavior

Jonathan A. Sorkin, Ziv Rechany, Mara Almog, Nina Dietzmeyer, Yuval Shapira, Kirsten Haastert-Talini, Shimon Rochkind*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background The rabbit sciatic nerve injury model may represent a valuable alternative for critical gap distance seen in humans but often leads to automutilation. In this study, we modified the complete sciatic nerve injury model for avoiding autophagy. Materials and Methods In 20 adult female New Zealand White rabbits, instead of transecting the complete sciatic nerve, we unilaterally transected the tibial portion and preserved the peroneal portion. Thereby loss of sensation in the dorsal aspect of the paw was avoided. The tibial portion was repaired in a reversed autograft approach in a length of 2.6 cm. In an alternative repair approach, a gap of 2.6 cm in length was repaired with a chitosan-based nerve guide. Results During the 6-month follow-up period, there were no incidents of autotomy. Nerve regeneration of the tibial portion of the sciatic nerve was evaluated histologically and morphometrically. A clear difference between the distal segments of the healthy contralateral and the repaired tibial portion of the sciatic nerve was detectable, validating the model. Conclusion By transecting the isolated tibial portion of the rabbit sciatic nerve and leaving the peroneal portion intact, it was possible to eliminate automutilation behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E22-E29
JournalJournal of Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Injury
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • automutilation behavior
  • peripheral nerve reconstruction
  • rabbit model


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