Intravenous mesenchymal stem cell therapy after recurrent laryngeal nerve injury: A preliminary study

Michael Z. Lerner, Takashi Matsushita, Karen L. Lankford, Christine Radtke, Jeffery D. Kocsis, Nwanmegha O. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis Intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been recently shown to enhance functional recovery after stroke and spinal cord injury. The therapeutic properties of MSCs are attributed to their secretion of a variety of potent antiinflammatory and neurotrophic factors. We hypothesize that intravenous administration of MSCs after recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury in the rat may enhance functional recovery. Study Design Animal Research. Methods Twelve 250-gram Sprague-Dawley rats underwent a controlled crush injury to the left RLN. After confirming postoperative vocal fold immobility, each rat was intravenously infused with either green fluorescent protein-expressing MSCs or control media in a randomized and blinded fashion. Videolaryngoscopy was performed weekly. The laryngoscopy video recordings were reviewed and rated by a fellowship-trained laryngologist who remained blinded to the intervention using a 0 to 3 scale. Results At 1 week postinjury, the MSC-infused group showed a trend for higher average functional recovery scores compared to the control group (2.2 vs 1.3), but it did not reach statistical significance (P value of 0.06). By 2 weeks, however, both groups exhibited complete return of function. Conclusions These pilot data indicate that with complete nerve transection by crush injury of the RLN in rat, there is complete recovery of vocal fold mobility at 2 weeks. At 1 week postinjury, animals receiving intravenous infusion of MSCs showed a trend for greater functional recovery, suggesting a potential beneficial effect of MSCs; however, this did not reach statistical significance. Therefore, no definite conclusions can be drawn from these data and further study is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2555-2560
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • nerve regeneration
  • recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • vocal fold paralysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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