Host axons will regenerate through a long nerve allograft in an immunologically tolerant rat. However, if tolerance is abolished, rejection occurs and allogeneic cells (e.g., Schwann, vascular, perineurial, etc.) as well as regenerated host axons disappear from the allograft. Because following tolerance abolition host axons begin to regenerate into the connective tissue remnants of the rejected nerve allografts, the extent of this renewed axonal growth was investigated. It was found that in a tolerance‐abolished rat, host axons only regrew into the proximal 1 cm of a 4‐cm allograft which in a fully tolerant recipient would have had numerous allogeneic Schwann cell‐myelinated axons throughout its length. It is concluded that viable allogeneic cells (i.e., Schwann, fibroblast, and vascular) together with their connective tissue matrix provide the best way to aid host nerve fiber regeneration through a long nerve allograft.
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