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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998 Jan;118(1):74-81.

An anatomic study of the rat larynx: establishing the rat model for neuromuscular function.

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Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, USA.


The gross and microscopic anatomy of the rat larynx was studied with particular attention to myology and neuromuscular structures to further validate it as a model to evaluate morphologic and functional changes induced by botulinum injection. A laryngeal alar cartilage (LAIC), alar cricoarytenoid (ACA) muscle, and a superior cricoarytenoid muscle (SCA) were identified as anatomic structures not previously described. Two portions (medial and lateral) of the thyroarytenoid muscle (TA) were distinguished. The function of the ACA was suggested to be similar to the aryepiglottis muscle in humans and the function of the SCA was suggested to be similar to the human interarytenoid muscle. The predominant pattern of motor endplate (MEP) distribution in rat laryngeal muscles (posterior cricoarytenoid, lateral cricoarytenoid, cricothyroid, and SCA) was to have MEPs concentrated mostly at the midbelly of muscle where they were distributed throughout the cross-sectional area of the midbelly. The TA and ACA differed from this pattern. The lateral TA had MEPs concentrated at the anterior third of its belly and those of the medial TA were located at the midbelly. Motor endplates in the ACA were located mostly at the posterior portion of muscle. Muscle fiber-typing showed subtle differences between the intrinsic laryngeal muscles. Fast fibers were predominant in the rat laryngeal muscles. This study supports the expanded use of rats in studies of laryngeal neuromuscular function and disease in humans.

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