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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1997 Dec;106(12):1076-81.

Changes in myosin expression in denervated laryngeal muscle.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.


The effects of chronic denervation on the myosin heavy chain (MyHC) content and muscle fiber type composition of rat laryngeal muscles are described. The posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA) and thyroarytenoid (TA) muscles were removed 3 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after recurrent laryngeal nerve sectioning. Myofibrillar adenosine triphosphatase staining of cryostat sections was performed, and fiber type percentages were determined. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was used to separate MyHC isoforms, and densitometry was subsequently used for quantitative analysis. Unoperated animals served as controls. In the PCA muscle, denervation resulted in a progressive reduction in type I MyHC (the slow-contracting isoform) to an almost complete loss at 6 months, with a concomitant increase in type II MyHCs (fast-contracting isoforms, excluding type IIL). Type IIL MyHC (laryngeal-specific isoform) remained relatively constant up to 6 months after denervation. The myosin expression in the TA muscle, which contained only type II MyHCs, remained relatively constant with denervation. Changes in fiber type composition of the muscles described from tissue staining correlated with MyHC content. These findings in laryngeal muscle confirm the dependence of type I MyHC expression upon neural input, as has been found previously in limb skeletal muscles. Since the expression of all MyHCs except the IIL was modified after denervation in the PCA muscle, it is possible that the IIL isoform is maintained by factors that differ from those in the other skeletal myosins.

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