Manual stimulation of facial muscles improves functional recovery after hypoglossal-facial anastomosis and interpositional nerve grafting of the facial nerve in adult rats

O. Guntinas-Lichius, G. Hundeshagen, T. Paling, M. Streppel, M. Grosheva, A. Irintchev, E. Skouras, A. Alvanou, S.K. Angelova, S. Keurten, N. Sinis, Sarah Dunlop, D.N. Angelov

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    35 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The facial nerve in humans is often prone to injuries requiring surgical intervention. In the best case, nerve reconstruction is achieved by a facial–facial anastomosis (FFA), i.e. suture of the proximal and distal stumps of the severed facial nerve. Although a method of choice, FFA rarely leads to a satisfactory functional recovery. We have recently devised and validated, in an established experimental paradigm in rats, a novel strategy to improve the outcome of FFA by daily manual stimulation (MS) of facial muscles. This treatment results in full recovery of facial movements (whisking) and is achieved by reducing the proportion of functionally detrimental poly-innervated motor end-plates. Here we asked whether MS could also be beneficial after two other commonly used surgical methods of clinical facial nerve reconstruction namely hypoglossal–facial anastomosis (HFA) and interpositional nerve grafting (IPNG) which, however, seem to have a poorer outcome compared to FFA. Compared to FFA, daily MS for 2 months after HFA and IPGN did not completely restore function but, nevertheless, significantly improved the amplitude of whisker movements by 50% compared with untreated animals. Functional improvement was associated with a reduction in the proportion of polyinnervated end-plates. MS did not reduce the extent of axonal branching at the lesion site nor the subsequent misdirected axonal regrowth to inappropriate targets. Our data show that a simple approach leading to improved quality of muscle fiber reinnervation is functionally beneficial after different types of clinically relevant surgical interventions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-112
    JournalNeurobiology of Disease
    Volume28
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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