Manual stimulation of the whisker pad after hypoglossal-facial anastomosis (HFA) using a Y-tube conduit does not improve recovery of whisking function

U. Ozsoy, B.M. Demirel, A. Hizay, O. Özsoy, J. Ankerne, S.K. Angelova, L. Sarikçioǧlu, Y. Ucar, M. Turhan, Sarah Dunlop, D.N. Angelov

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    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Facial nerve injury is a common clinical trauma involving long-term functional deficits with facial asymmetry leading to associated psychological issues and social hardship. We have recently shown that repair by hypoglossal-facial or facial-facial nerve surgical end-to-end anastomosis and suture [hypoglossal-facial anastomosis (HFA) or facial-facial anastomosis (FFA)] results in collateral axonal branching, polyinnervation of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) and poor function. We have also shown that another HFA repair procedure using an isogenic Y-tube (HFA + Y-tube) and involving a 10-mm gap reduces collateral axonal branching, but fails to reduce polyinnervation. Furthermore, we have previously demonstrated that manual stimulation (MS) of facial muscles after FFA or HFA reduces polyinnervation of NMJs and improves functional recovery. Here, we examined whether HFA + Y-tube and MS of the vibrissal muscles reduce polyinnervation and restore function. Isogenic Y-tubes were created using abdominal aortas. The proximal hypoglossal nerve was inserted into the long arm and sutured to its wall. The distal zygomatic and buccal facial nerve branches were inserted into the two short arms and likewise sutured to their walls. Manual stimulation involved gentle stroking of the vibrissal muscles by hand mimicking normal whisker movement. We evaluated vibrissal motor performance using video-based motion analysis, degree of collateral axonal branching using double retrograde labeling and the quality of NMJ reinnervation in target musculature using immunohistochemistry. MS after HFA + Y-tube reduced neither collateral branching, nor NMJ polyinnervation. Accordingly, it did not improve recovery of function. We conclude that application of MS after hypoglossal-facial nerve repair using an isogenic Y-tube is contraindicated: it does not lead to functional recovery but, rather, worsens it. © 2014 Springer-Verlag.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2021-2033
    JournalExperimental Brain Research
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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