In vivo effects of surgical sympathectomy on intramembranous bone resorption

Bret E. Sherman, Richard A. Chole

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31 Scopus citations


Bone modeling and remodeling are highly regulated processes in the mammalian skeleton. The exact mechanism by which bone can be modeled at a local site with little or no effect at adjacent anatomic sites is unknown. Disruption of the control of modeling within the temporal bone may lead to various bone diseases such as otosclerosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, Paget's disease of bone, fibrous dysplasia, or the erosion of bone associated with chronic otitis media. One possible mechanism for such delicate control may be related to the ubiquitous and rich sympathetic innervation of all periosteal surfaces. Previous studies have indicated that regional sympathectomy leads to qualitative alterations in localized bone modeling and remodeling. In this study, unilateral cervical sympathectomy resulted in significant increases in osteoclast surface and osteoclast number within the ipsilateral bulla of experimental animals. The mechanisms by which sympathectomy leads to increased local bone loss is unknown. Potential mechanisms include disinhibition of resorption, secondary to the elimination of periosteal sympathetics, as well as indirect vascular effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-346
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Otology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Bone modeling
  • Osteoclast
  • Sympathectomy


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