Regeneration of the sciatic nerve was studied in rats pretreated in a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF). The rats were exposed between a pair of Helmholtz coils at a pulse repetition rate of 2 pps at a field density of 60 or 300 microT. The PEMF treatment was then discontinued. After an interval of recovery, regeneration of the sciatic nerve was initiated by a crush lesion. Regeneration of sensory fibers was measured by the “pinch test” after an additional 3-6 days. A variety of PEMF pretreatments including 4 h/day for 1-4 days or exposure for 15 min/day during 2 days resulted in an increased regeneration distance, measured 3 days after the crush lesion. This effect could be demonstrated even after a 14-day recovery period. In contrast, pretreatment for 4 h/day for 2 days at 60 microT did not affect the regeneration distance. The results showed that PEMF pretreatment conditioned the rat sciatic nerve in a manner similar to that which occurs after a crush lesion, which indicates that PEMF affects the neuronal cell body. However, the mechanism of this effect remains obscure.
Kanje M, Rusovan A, Sisken B, Lundborg G.
Department of Animal Physiology, University of Lund, Sweden.