Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Joanne K. Daniloff


Tubes containing monoclonal antibodies with anti-neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM)-like activity were applied to transected sciatic nerves to attempt to perturb the recovery of muscle function. Physiological recordings were used to estimate the return of function. The decline of implanted antibody over 28 days was estimated. No significant immune responses were detected in response to the implanted material. Electron microscopic and immunohistological analyses evaluated particular cellular disruptions in nerves due to the presence of these antibodies with anti-N-CAM like activity. Histological sections of fixed experimental nerves consistently revealed abnormal gaps between Schwann cells of regenerating nerves. This specific Schwann cell abnormality was not present in nerves of control animals and was no longer observed in experimental nerves after 60 days of survival. This time course was associated with antibody clearance and restoration of muscle function. We proposed that perturbed Schwann cell adhesive interactions disrupted the advance of neurites across nerve gaps and resulted in delayed regeneration. The data implicated N-CAM as a potential contributor to nerve regeneration.