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Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 1994 Sep;31(5):345-50.

Patterns of abnormal myogenesis in human cleft palates.

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Center for Craniofacial Disorders, Scottish Rite Children's Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia 30342.


To test the hypothesis that soft palate muscles are abnormal in cleft palate, we compared soft palate morphogenesis in fetuses with cleft palate (n = 4) to age-matched (n = 3) and nonmatched (n = 1) control specimens. The morphologic status of all soft palate and masticatory structures were classified into one of six stages based on the level of histogenesis. At 54 mm crown-rump length (CRL), the levator veli palatini (L), palatopharyngeus (PP), and palatoglossus (PG) in cleft subjects demonstrated mesenchymal condensation into myoblastic fields, lagging behind the control specimens (97 mm CRL), which displayed definitive fields of myoblasts and myotube formation. In the 175 mm and 225 mm cleft and the 170 mm and 192 mm control specimens, muscular morphology was similar and had reached its postnatal appearance for the tensor veli palatini (175 m only) and L, PP, PG (225 mm only). Muscle fiber directions were, however, disoriented and disorganized, especially close to the medial epithelial edge of the cleft. The levator veli palatini, could not be distinguished as a discrete muscle in the cleft specimens, and what we believed to be the PP and PG seemed "normal" at the level of light microscopy, but malpositioned in a superior direction. This preliminary study demonstrates for the first time that early myogenesis in cleft palates differs from normal.

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