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Keywords:

  • shoulder deformity;
  • postnatal development;
  • brachial plexus palsy;
  • animal model

Abstract

The developmental course of musculoskeletal deformities in neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) has not been studied extensively. The goals of this study were to: (1) evaluate a new animal model of NBPP, (2) characterize the development of musculoskeletal abnormalities in paralyzed shoulders, and (3) investigate the expression of myogenic and adipogenic genes in paralyzed rotator cuff muscles. Neonatal mice were divided into neurotomy and sham groups. The neurotomy group underwent surgical transection of the superior trunk of the brachial plexus within 24 h of birth. The sham group underwent the same surgical exposure, but the brachial plexus was left intact. Musculoskeletal deformities were evaluated with radiological and histological assays at 2, 4, 8, 12, and 30 weeks after birth. The supraspinatus muscles of a separate group of mice were used to examine expression of myogenic and adipogenic genes at 8 weeks. The neurotomized forelimbs developed deformities similar to those seen in human NBPP. The deformities progressed with age. The denervated supraspinatus muscles showed intramuscular fat accumulation and upregulation of both myogenic and adipogenic genes compared to the normal. The current study presents a useful animal model for future research examining musculoskeletal changes secondary to neonatal nerve injury. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 28:1391–1398, 2010