Silk ligatures were tied round the sciatic nerve in guinea-pigs and left in place in order to produce persistent nerve constriction. Serial nerve conduction studies over the following 9 weeks showed a reduction in motor conduction velocity distal to the ligature. The presence of axonal atrophy in tibial nerve fibres in the leg was subsequently confirmed by histological studies. These changes were not seen in a second group of animals in which similar ligatures were tied but removed after 6 hours. When the ligatures were left in place, the animals developed local plantar nerve lesions in the sole of the foot on the affected side, which were thought to be due to pressure from the floor of the cage. Local pressure changes of varying severity were seen in the foot in all the constricted nerves, but were only occasionally found in control nerves from the opposite foot, or in nerves which had been constricted for a few hours by ligatures which were then removed. These results suggest that atrophic nerve fibres distal to a persistent constriction may be particularly sensitive to local pressure.
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