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Laryngoscope. 2014 Nov;124(11):2555-60. doi: 10.1002/lary.24798. Epub 2014 Jul 7.

Intravenous mesenchymal stem cell therapy after recurrent laryngeal nerve injury: a preliminary study.

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  • 1Section of Otolaryngology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.



Intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been recently shown to enhance functional recovery after stroke and spinal cord injury. The therapeutic properties of MSCs are attributed to their secretion of a variety of potent antiinflammatory and neurotrophic factors. We hypothesize that intravenous administration of MSCs after recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury in the rat may enhance functional recovery.


Animal Research.


Twelve 250-gram Sprague-Dawley rats underwent a controlled crush injury to the left RLN. After confirming postoperative vocal fold immobility, each rat was intravenously infused with either green fluorescent protein-expressing MSCs or control media in a randomized and blinded fashion. Videolaryngoscopy was performed weekly. The laryngoscopy video recordings were reviewed and rated by a fellowship-trained laryngologist who remained blinded to the intervention using a 0 to 3 scale.


At 1 week postinjury, the MSC-infused group showed a trend for higher average functional recovery scores compared to the control group (2.2 vs 1.3), but it did not reach statistical significance (P value of 0.06). By 2 weeks, however, both groups exhibited complete return of function.


These pilot data indicate that with complete nerve transection by crush injury of the RLN in rat, there is complete recovery of vocal fold mobility at 2 weeks. At 1 week postinjury, animals receiving intravenous infusion of MSCs showed a trend for greater functional recovery, suggesting a potential beneficial effect of MSCs; however, this did not reach statistical significance. Therefore, no definite conclusions can be drawn from these data and further study is required.



© 2014 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.


Mesenchymal stem cells; nerve regeneration; recurrent laryngeal nerve; vocal fold paralysis

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