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Somatotopic Changes in the Nucleus Ambiguus After Section and Regeneration of the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve of the Rat

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen McHanwell


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Changes in motoneurons innervating laryngeal muscles after section and regeneration of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) are far from being understood. Here, we report the somatotopic changes within the nucleus ambiguus (Amb) after the nerve injury and relates it to the resulting laryngeal fold impairment. The left RLN of each animal was transected and the stumps were glued together using surgical fibrin glue. After several survival periods (1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 weeks; at least six rats at each time point) the posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA) and thyroarytenoid (TA) muscles were injected with fluorescent-conjugated cholera toxin and the motility of the vocal folds evaluated. After section and subsequent repair of the RLN, no movement of the vocal folds could be detected at any of the survival times studied and the somatotopy and the number of labeled motoneurons changed. From 4 wpi award, the somatotopy was significantly disorganized, with the PCA motoneurons being located rostrally relative to their normal location. A rostrocaudal overlap between the two pools of motoneurons supplying the PCA and TA muscles was observed from 2 wpi onwards. Hardly any labeled neurons were found in the contralateral Amb in any of the experimental groups. An injury of the RLN leads to a reinnervation of the denervated motor endplates of PCA and TA. However, misdirected axons sprout and regrowth from the proximal stump to the larynx. As a result, misplaced innervation of muscles results in a lack of functional recovery of the laryngeal folds movement following a RLN injury. Anat Rec, 297:955-963, 2014. (c) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hernandez-Morato I, Berdugo-Vega G, Sanudo JR, Mchanwell S, Vazquez T, Valderrama-Canales FJ, Pascual-Font A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Anatomical Record-Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology

Year: 2014

Volume: 297

Issue: 5

Pages: 955-963

Print publication date: 24/01/2014

ISSN (print): 1932-8486

ISSN (electronic): 1932-8494

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing


DOI: 10.1002/ar.22877


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Funder referenceFunder name
UCM920547 group
FIS07-0451Spanish Government
FIS10-02721Spanish Government