Laryngeal abductor muscle reinnervation in a pig model

Martin Birchall, Bernadine Idowu, Pamela Murison, Alan Jones, Rachel Burt, Sarah Ayling, Chris Stokes, Laysan Pope, Giorgio Terenghi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective-To develop a large animal model for studies of laryngeal abductor reinnervation. Material and Methods-Six minipigs underwent unilateral anastomosis of the phrenic nerve-abductor branch of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN). Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) conduits were used for repair. At each of 30, 60 and 120 days, 2 animals underwent video laryngeal endoscopy (VLE) and were then killed. VLE was also performed in the 120-day pair at 60 days. Nerve-conduit-nerve-muscle samples were fixed for light and immunofluorescence (pan-neurofilaments, S-100) microscopy. Laryngeal muscles were harvested (myosin heavy chain analysis). Results-VLE showed recovery of abductor function in 1 animal at 60 days and in 1 at 120 days. Haematoxylin-eosin staining demonstrated a complex inflammatory response. Eosinophil recruitment was observed. Stepwise regeneration and reorganization of the distal nerve between 30 and 120 days was observed with pan-NF staining. The mean minimum diameter in the reinnervated posterior crico-arytenoids tended to increase for up to 120 days. Conclusions-Anastomosis of the phrenic nerve-abductor branch of the RLN with a PHB conduit in a pig can result in functional and histological recovery within 2-4 months and appears to at least sustain abductor muscle fibre morphology. Recovery occurs despite a complex inflammatory response, which may be an essential part of healing rather than inhibitory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)839-846
    Number of pages7
    JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • Larynx
    • Phrenic nerve
    • Pig
    • Recurrent laryngeal nerve
    • Reinnervation


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