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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of electrical stimulation on sciatic nerve regeneration and functional recovery of target muscles. Mice were randomly divided into 3 groups: ligated without electrical stimulation, ligated with electrical stimulation and control (non-ligated). The unilateral peripheral mononeuropathy was produced on the right hind limb. Sciatic nerve was then electrically stimulated daily for a period of 2 weeks (duration: 0.2 msec, frequency: 100Hz, amplitude: 15mA). Evoked surface EMG was recorded from biceps femoris (BF) and gluteus maximus (GM) muscles on the 3rd, 7th, 10th and 14th day after sciatic nerve ligation. Muscle force and sensitivity was determined by processing of the recorded EMG signals in time and frequency domains respectively. The results showed electrical stimulation (ES) produced a significant increase in the EMG response of BF, and muscle force significantly increased on the 14th day (p<0.001), however no significant difference was found in GM muscle force between experimental groups. This may be due to possible innervation by inferior gluteal nerve. Frequency analysis of BF signals indicates that hyperalgesia remained after 14 days in both ligated groups. On the 14th day no difference in GM muscle sensitivity was found between groups. In conclusion, the results of this study have shown that the electrical stimulation of sciatic nerve accelerates nerve repair and indirectly improves BF muscle force to a comparable level with control without effect on muscle sensitivity. However, ES had no effect on GM muscle force and sensitivity.
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