To investigate the effects of vibration on the peripheral nerves, rabbits were exposed to vibration of 60 cycles/s frequency with 0.35 mm amplitude (acceleration: 51 m/s2) for two hours daily. After 150, 250, 450, and 600 hours vibration, thin sections of the saphenous and median nerves were examined under the electron microscope. Vibration was found to induce the following changes: (1) disruption of the myelin sheath and constriction of the axon, (2) accumulation of vacuoles in the nodal gap and paranodal region, (3) disorganisation of the paranodal end loops and detachment of the paranodal end loops from the axolemma, (4) dilatation of the Schmidt-Lanterman incisures (SLI) and increased density of SLI, and (5) disappearance of neurotubules and neurofilaments in axons. The diameters of myelin sheaths disrupted by vibration varied from 2 to 12 microns. The extent of the myelin disruption is proportional to the vibration dose.
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