Central nervous system integration of sensorimotor signals in oral and pharyngeal structures: Oropharyngeal kinematics response to recurrent laryngeal nerve lesion

Francois D H Gould, Jocelyn Ohlemacher, Andrew R. Lammers, Andrew Gross, Ashley Ballester, Luke Fraley, Rebecca Z. German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Safe, efficient liquid feeding in infant mammals requires the central coordination of oropharyngeal structures innervated by multiple cranial and spinal nerves. The importance of laryngeal sensation and central sensorimotor integration in this system is poorly understood. Recurrent laryngeal nerve lesion (RLN) results in increased aspiration, though the mechanism for this is unclear. This study aimed to determine the effect of unilateral RLN lesion on the motor coordination of infant liquid feeding. We hypothesized that 1) RLN lesion results in modified swallow kinematics, 2) postlesion oropharyngeal kinematics of unsafe swallows differ from those of safe swallows, and 3) non swallowing phases of the feeding cycle show changed kinematics postlesion. We implanted radio opaque markers in infant pigs and filmed them preand postlesion with high-speed video fluoroscopy. Markers locations were digitized, and swallows were assessed for airway protection. RLN lesion resulted in modified kinematics of the tongue relative to the epiglottis in safe swallows. In lesioned animals, safe swallow kinematics differed from unsafe swallows. Unsafe swallow postlesion kinematics resembled prelesion safe swallows. The movement of the tongue was reduced in oral transport postlesion. Between different regions of the tongue, response to lesion was similar, and relative timing within the tongue was unchanged. RLN lesion has a pervasive effect on infant feeding kinematics, related to the efficiency of airway protection. The timing of tongue and hyolaryngeal kinematics in swallows is a crucial locus for swallow disruption. Laryngeal sensation is essential for the central coordination in feeding of oropharyngeal structures receiving motor inputs from different cranial nerves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-502
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume120
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dysphagia
  • Infant
  • Mammalian feeding
  • Swallow control
  • Tongue kinematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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