Quantification of rat supraglottic laryngeal sensation threshold

Derrick C. Gale, Neel K. Bhatt, Randal C. Paniello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Laryngeal adductor response (LAR) to air puff is used as a reliable method in evaluating sensation thresholds (ST) in human laryngeal sensory disorders. This method has been difficult to perform in small subjects such as rodents. The aims of this study were to 1) evaluate ST to air puff under binocular microlaryngoscopy in rats to evaluate laryngeal sensory disorders, 2) determine sensory thresholds at varying target locations, and 3) determine the ideal depth of anesthesia. Study Design: Animal study. Methods: Rats were induced with ketamine/xylazine. The level of anesthesia was monitored by spontaneous glottic closure and corneal reflex testing. Air puffs were delivered to the epiglottis, arytenoid, and piriform sinus at varied pressures with pulse time kept constant. Sensation thresholds were determined by direct visualization of the larynx using a binocular microscope. Topical lidocaine was then applied to the larynx and ST was determined. Trials were repeated in a small subset of animals. Results: Twenty-six trials were performed in 14 rats. Mean STs were 39 ± 9.7 mm Hg at the epiglottis, 48.8 ± 10.5 at the arytenoid, and not detectable at the pyriform sinus. Repeated trials demonstrated consistent results. Lidocaine effectively ablated the LAR in each trial. The LAR was difficult to induce while corneal reflex was absent and was difficult to distinguish from spontaneous glottic closures while under lighter sedation. Conclusion: Air pulse stimulation in rats is a simple, reliable, and effective way to determine laryngopharyngeal STs in rats and can be used as an efficient and affordable method for experimentation involving laryngeal sensory disorders. Level of Evidence: NA. Laryngoscope, 127:E265–E269, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E265-E269
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Larynx
  • rat
  • sensory disorder
  • sensory testing
  • superior laryngeal nerve


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