Age-Related Changes in Muscle Fiber Regeneration in the Human Thyroarytenoid Muscle | Laryngology | JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Article
July 2000

Age-Related Changes in Muscle Fiber Regeneration in the Human Thyroarytenoid Muscle

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(7):851-856. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.7.851

Background  Muscle fiber regeneration is essential to maintain normal muscle fiber populations and muscle mass by continuous replacement of fibers lost to acute muscle injury or overuse. However, the extent of ongoing muscle fiber regeneration in the laryngeal muscles is unknown.

Objective  The present study provides statistically unbiased, quantitative estimates of the content of regenerating fibers in the human thyroarytenoid muscle over the adult lifespan.

Design  In the adult, only regenerating muscle fibers express the developmental myosin isoform. Therefore, regenerating fibers were identified using immunohistochemical techniques. The content of regenerating muscle fibers in the entire muscle volume was then estimated using stereological techniques. Through the use of a computer-automated sampling protocol, stereological data were collected from sets of isotropic uniform random cryostat sections. Overprojection error was minimized by using a confocal laser–scanning microscope to image thin optical sections for use as sample fields.

Subjects  Eight autopsy cases, subjects ranging in age from 19 to 81 years.

Results  The summed length of fibers expressing developmental myosin increased significantly (P=.02) with age when compared with the overall muscle fiber length.

Conclusions  This finding indicates that muscle fibers maintain the capability for spontaneous regeneration, and that the proportion of regenerating fibers increases as the thyroarytenoid muscle ages. This increase is possibly a compensatory response to an age-related increase in muscle fiber injury or death.