Laryngeal dysfunction in the elderly is a major cause of disability, from voice disorders to dysphagia and loss of airway protective reflexes. Few, if any, therapies exist that target age-related laryngeal muscle dysfunction. Neurotrophins are involved in muscle innervation and differentiation of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). It is thought that neurotrophins enhance neuromuscular transmission by increasing neurotransmitter release. The neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) become smaller and less abundant in aging rat laryngeal muscles, with evidence of functional denervation. We explored the effects of NTF4 for future clinical use as a therapeutic to improve function in aging human laryngeal muscles. Here, we provide the detailed protocol for systemic application and direct injection of NTF4 to investigate the ability of aging rat laryngeal muscle to remodel in response to NTF4 application. In this method, rats either received NTF4 either systemically via osmotic pump or by direct injection through the vocal folds. Laryngeal muscles were then dissected and used for histological examination of morphology and age-related denervation.
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This work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other communication Disorders (R21DC010806 to C.A.M. and J.C.S and R01DC011285 to C.A.M.).
The video component of this article can be found at https://www.jove.com/video/55837/.
Andreatta, Richard D.; Stemple, Joseph C.; Seward, Tanya S.; and McMullen, Colleen A., "Subcutaneous Neurotophin 4 Infusion Using Osmotic Pumps or Direct Muscular Injection Enhances Aging Rat Laryngeal Muscles" (2017). Physical Therapy Faculty Publications. 92.