Muscle healing and nerve regeneration in a muscle contusion model in the rat

Document Type





The nervous system is known to be involved in inflammation and repair. We aimed to determine the effect of physical activity on the healing of a muscle injury and to examine the pattern of innervation. Using a drop-ball technique, a contusion was produced in the gastrocnemius in 20 rats. In ten the limb was immobilised in a plaster cast and the remaining ten had mobilisation on a running wheel. The muscle and the corresponding dorsal-root ganglia were studied by histological and immunohistochemical methods.In the mobilisation group, there was a significant reduction in lymphocytes (p = 0.016), macrophages (p = 0.008) and myotubules (p = 0.008) between three and 21 days. The formation of myotubules and the density of nerve fibres was significantly higher (both p = 0.016) compared with those in the immobilisation group at three days, while the density of CGRP-positive fibres was significantly lower (p = 0.016) after 21 days.Mobilisation after contusional injury to the muscle resulted in early and increased formation of myotubules, early nerve regeneration and progressive reduction in inflammation, suggesting that it promoted a better healing response.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery-British Volume