OBJECTIVE: In order to develop a novel nerve guidance channel using porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) for nerve regeneration, we investigated the possibility of SIS, a tissue consisting of acellular collagen material without cellular immunogenicity, and containing many kinds of growth factors, as a natural material with a new bioactive functionality. METHODS: Left sciatic nerves were cut 5 mm in length, in 14 Sprague-Dawley rats. Grafts between the cut nerve ends were performed with a silicone tube (Silicon group, n=7) and rolled porcine SIS (SIS group, n=7). All rats underwent a motor function test and an electromyography (EMG) study on 4 and 10 weeks after grafting. After last EMG studies, the grafts, including proximal and distal nerve segments, were retrieved for histological analysis. RESULTS: Foot ulcers, due to hypesthesia, were fewer in SIS group than in Silicon group. The run time tests for motor function study were 2.67 seconds in Silicon group and 5.92 seconds in SIS group. Rats in SIS group showed a better EMG response for distal motor latency and amplitude than in Silicon group. Histologically, all grafts contained some axons and myelination. However, the number of axons and the degree of myelination were significantly higher in SIS group than Silicon group. CONCLUSION: These results show that the porcine SIS was an excellent option as a natural biomaterial for peripheral nerve regeneration since this material contains many kinds of nerve growth factors. Furthermore, it could be used as a biocompatible barrier covering neural tissue.