Objectives/Hypothesis Functional recovery after a recurrent laryngeal nerve or facial nerve injury may be impaired due to aberrant reinnervation. Previous work in a rat peripheral nerve injury model found vincristine to be a potent inhibitor of reinnervation, and it has since been used to effectively block neural regeneration in other animal models. However, vincristine's narrow therapeutic index may limit its utility; therefore, another microtubule inhibitor, paclitaxel, which has a higher therapeutic index, was tested. Study Design Animal (rat) study. Methods After controlled injury to the rat posterior tibial (PT) nerve, the gastrocnemius/soleus complex was injected with saline (control, n = 14), vincristine (n = 30), or paclitaxel (n = 20). Injections without a crush injury were performed using saline (n = 5) or paclitaxel (n = 9). The functional recovery (FR) of the PT nerve was assessed using walking track analysis. Results At 6 weeks, controls had already recovered to baseline (FR = 1.0), whereas the paclitaxel group had FR = 0.724 ± 0.064 and the vincristine group had FR = 0.709 ± 0.078. At 6 months, the paclitaxel rats had FR = 0.798 ± 0.167 and the vincristine rats had FR = 0.754 ± 0.240. These differences were significantly different from baseline, but the two agents were not different from each other. Paclitaxel did not affect the FR in the absence of a nerve injury. Conclusions Intramuscular paclitaxel and vincristine both significantly inhibit regeneration of the PT nerve after crush injury for at least 6 months. Potential clinical uses of inhibition of reinnervation are discussed.
- Unilateral vocal fold paralysis
- laryngeal nerve
- neural regeneration