Long-term evaluation of motor function following intraneural injection of ropivacaine using walking track analysis in rats
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Iohom, G. (2005). Long-term evaluation of motor function following intraneural injection of ropivacaine using walking track analysis in rats. British Journal of Anaesthesia 94 (4), 524-529
Background. There is a paucity of data regarding neurologic function following nerve injury. Our objective was the long-term evaluation of motor function following intraneural injection of ropivacaine in rats using the sciatic function index (SFI), derived from walking track analysis. Methods. Rats were randomly assigned to one of four groups of 13 animals each. A needle was inserted under magnification into the left sciatic nerve and 0.2 ml of normal saline, formalin 15%, ropivacaine 0.2 or 0.75% were injected intraneurally. The right side was sham operated. Walking track analysis was performed the day before and on days 1, 4, 7, 11, 15, 18, 21, and 67 following intraneural injection. At the end of the experiment (day 67) a semi-quantitative evaluation of neuropathologic changes was performed by three independent observers. Results. Animals treated with saline and ropivacaine (0.2 and 0.75%) had no detectable impairment of motor function at any time point. In contrast, rats treated with formalin had a complete loss of motor function immediately after the intraneural injection, which persisted until day 21 and returned to normal by day 67. Important histopathologic changes (score=2) with excellent inter-observer agreement were seen only in the group treated with formalin. This applied to both axonal degeneration and Schwann cell density evaluations. Conclusions. These findings suggest that intraneural injections of ropivacaine at concentrations routinely used in clinical practice appear to have no deleterious effect on sciatic nerve motor function in this experimental rat model.