Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Charlotte Greene, PhD

Second Advisor

Michael McGuiness, PhD

Third Advisor

Richard Kriebel, PhD


FDA approved, commercial, modified porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) is utilized clinically for peripheral nerve repair. However, if measures can be put in place to insure its safety, native SIS prepared from locally available porcine resources would provide easy access to an inexpensive alternative. Both forms of this material lack antigenicity, have inherit properties which provides a favorable growth environment, and have been successfully used experimentally as a natural conduit in peripheral nerve repair. Successful recovery from a peripheral nerve injury is dependent on the efficiency and speed of axonal regeneration to the point of distal interruption of the nerve. Native SIS is a component of an absorptive structure and there are structural differences which affect directional porosity between the luminal (mucosal) and abluminal (serosal) surfaces which could impact axonal regeneration, but have not been investigated. This proof of concept study comparing the effectiveness of the porcine native SIS surfaces for axon regrowth was conducted over a period of 16 weeks. In each of the 12 participating Sprague-Dawley rats, a SIS graft was used to reconnect the sciatic nerve after a 2 mm section was transected. In half of the rats, the graft was placed with mucosal side nerve approximation. In the other half of the rats, the graft was placed with serosal side nerve approximation. Comparisons were made regarding visual appearance throughout the entirety of the study, as well as selected gait criteria used to analyze functional recovery, and histological morphometric analysis to determine extent of nerve regeneration. Results indicated no significant differences in functional recovery, or extent of nerve regeneration, resulting from mucosal or serosal side approximation to the nerve in the use of native SIS in the repair of neurotmesis.