Electrical stimulation of a denervated muscle promotes selective reinnervation by native over foreign motoneurons

J Neurophysiol. 2002 Apr;87(4):2195-9. doi: 10.1152/jn.00451.2001.


The effect of electrical stimulation of the denervated posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA) muscle on its subsequent reinnervation was explored in the canine. Eight animals were implanted with a planar array of 36 electrodes for chronic stimulation and recording of spontaneous and evoked electromyographic (EMG) potentials across the entire fan-shaped surface of a muscle pair. Normative EMG data were recorded from each electrode site before unilateral nerve section, and from the innervated partner after nerve section. After randomizing the animals to experimental and control groups, the right recurrent laryngeal nerve innervating the PCA abductor muscle and its adductor antagonists was sectioned and reanastomosed. The PCA muscle in four experimental animals was continuously stimulated during the 11-mo experiment, using a 1-s, 30-pps, biphasic pulse train composed of 1-ms pulses 2-6 mA in amplitude and repeated every 10 s. The remaining four animals served as nonstimulated controls. Appropriate reinnervation by native inspiratory motoneurons was indexed behaviorally by the magnitude of vocal fold opening and electromyographically by the potential across all electrode sites. Inappropriate reinnervation by foreign adductor motoneurons was quantitated by recording EMG potentials evoked reflexly by stimulation of sensory afferents of the laryngeal mucosa. All four experimental animals showed a greater level of correct PCA muscle reinnervation (P < 0.0064) and a lesser level of incorrect reinnervation (P < 0.0084) than the controls. Direct muscle stimulation also appeared to enhance the overall magnitude of reinnervation, but the effect was not as strong (P < 0.113). These findings are consistent with a previous report and suggest that stimulation of a mammalian muscle may profoundly affect its receptivity to reinnervation by a particular motoneuron type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Electric Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electromyography
  • Equipment Design
  • Laryngeal Muscles / innervation
  • Laryngeal Muscles / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle Denervation*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Time Factors