J Reconstr Microsurg 2009; 25(2): 097-103
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1090615
© Thieme Medical Publishers

The Behavioral and Immunological Effect of GM-1 Ganglioside on Nerve Root Regeneration Following C5 Nerve Root Avulsion in a Rat Model

Harold Gregory Bach1 , Heather Harrison2 , Bassem El Hassan3 , Lawrence Kempton4 , Robert Leven2 , James M. Kerns2 , Sara Beddow2 , Mark H. Gonzalez1
  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
  • 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • 4Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
16 October 2008 (online)


Preganglionic nerve root avulsion precludes sensory return, but motor regeneration is possible with sparing of motoneurons. The effect of GM-1 ganglioside treatment was studied with parallel evaluation of the autoimmune response. Rats (n = 64) received injections of either GM-1 ganglioside or saline for 30 days following either C5 root avulsion or a hemilaminectomy control. The Bertelli grooming test assessed functional return. Before sacrifice at 5 months, serum was collected for enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay testing. Only 44% of the rats treated with ganglioside had a good functional outcome compared with 50% for controls. Although 17% of the rats developed anti GM-1 antibodies, there was no functional or histological evidence of neuropathy in any of the rats. We conclude that ganglioside treatment did not enhance recovery from peripheral nerve injury. Although an immune response was present in some rats, no overt signs of neuropathy were observed.


Mark H Gonzalez, M.D. , M.Eng. 

Professor and Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, 835 So. Wolcott Avenue

Rm. E-270, MC/844, Chicago, IL 60612

Email: hiphand15@gmail.com