Injuries of cranial nerves that are distal to but near the motor nucleus might result in retrograde motoneuron cell death. The hypothesis of this article is that an intratemporal crush injury of the facial nerve in rats can cause facial motor nuclei cell death.
Prospective, randomized, controlled animal study.
Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups: intratemporal sham, intratemporal crush injury, extratemporal crush injury, and extratemporal sham. The intratemporal (n = 9) and extratemporal crush injury (n = 4) groups underwent a 60-second crush of the nerve at the facial nerve tympanic segment or main facial nerve trunk distal to the stylomastoid foramen, respectively. The intratemporal sham group (n = 4) underwent identical exposure to the intratemporal crush without subsequent injury. Both sham groups and the extratemporal crush group were sacrificed at 4 weeks. The intratemporal crush group was subdivided into 4- (n = 4) and 8-week (n = 5) postinjury groups. Brain sections were stained with thionin and facial motor nuclei were counted under magnification. The contralateral uninjured facial motor nucleus was used to compare motor nucleus cell survival.
Intratemporal crush injury resulted in increased cell loss at 4 (89.43% ± 8.57% standard error of mean) and 8 weeks (85.78% ± 3.15%) after injury compared to sham injury (119.09% ± 13.35%) (P <.05). No significant change in cell survival was noted between the distal crush (103.29% ± 6.34%) and sham group (111.71% ± 3.24%) (P >.05).
A rat intratemporal crush injury resulted in approximately 15% facial motor nuclei cell loss compared to an intratemporal sham injury. An extratemporal crush injury did not lead to any significant facial motor nuclei cell loss. This might have future translational implications in humans with intratemporal facial nerve injuries. Laryngoscope, 2010