Effect of neurotrophin-3 on reinnervation of the larynx using the phrenic nerve transfer technique

Paul J. Kingham, Alexandra Hughes, Louisa Mitchard, Rachel Burt, Pamela Murison, Alan Jones, Giorgio Terenghi, Martin A. Birchall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Current techniques for reinnervation of the larynx following recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury are limited by synkinesis, which prevents functional recovery. Treatment with neurotrophins (NT) may enhance nerve regeneration and encourage more accurate reinnervation. This study presents the results of using the phrenic nerve transfer method, combined with NT-3 treatment, to selectively reinnervate the posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA) abductor muscle in a pig nerve injury model. RLN transection altered the phenotype and morphology of laryngeal muscles. In both the PCA and thyroarytenoid (TA) adductor muscle, fast type myosin heavy chain (MyHC) protein was decreased while slow type MyHC was increased. These changes were accompanied with a significant reduction in muscle fibre diameter. Following nerve repair there was a progressive normalization of MyHC phenotype and increased muscle fibre diameter in the PCA but not the TA muscle. This correlated with enhanced abductor function indicating the phrenic nerve accurately reinnervated the PCA muscle. Treatment with NT-3 significantly enhanced phrenic nerve regeneration but led to only a small increase in the number of reinnervated PCA muscle fibres and minimal effect on abductor muscle phenotype and morphology. Therefore, work exploring other growth factors, either alone or in combination with NT-3, is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrophy
  • Denervation
  • Muscle
  • Recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • Synkinesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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