Background. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of d
enervation on leukocyte function in soft-tissue infection in an isolated in
vivo ovine flap model.
Methods. Fifteen adult ewes were divided into three groups. An island pedic
le flap was raised on the right buttock, In group I (no denervation), the c
utaneous nerve remained intact, whereas in group II (acute denervation) the
nerve was divided acutely. In group III (prolonged denervation) the nerve
was divided 7 days before flap elevation. All flaps received intradermal in
oculation of 10(7) Staphylococcus aureus, and the animals were observed for
Results, In both groups II and III, the leukocyte chemiluminescence and che
motaxis were significantly decreased when compared with group I Furthermore
, there was profound impairment of leukocyte functions in group III compare
d with group II. Group III also had significantly higher bacterial counts,
larger septic foci, lower viable leukocyte ratios, and decreased bacterial
killing compared with group I.
Conclusions, Denervation, particularly over a period of time, results in in
creased bacterial growth of soft-tissue septic foci. This appears to be due
to decreased leukocyte function resulting in diminished bacterial killing.