Motoneurons innervating facial muscles after hypoglossal and hemihypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis in rats

Eduardo Fernandez, Liverana Lauretti, Luca Denaro, Nicola Montano, Francesco Doglietto, Federica Novegno, Maria Laura Falchetti, Tommaso Tufo, Giulio Maira, Roberto Pallini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis (HFA) is the most popular surgical procedure to reinnervate facial muscles after injury of the facial nerve. Section of the hypoglossus causes paralysis and atrophy of the hemi-tongue. In the attempt to overcome this consequence, the hemihypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis (HHFA) has been proposed and only a half of the main trunk of the hypoglossus is connected to the distal stump of the facial nerve. In the rat, we have studied experimentally the anatomical nuclear changes after HFA and HHFA with the aim of establishing the quantitative motoneuron innervation of facial muscles obtained with each one of the two operative options. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) injected in both types of anastomosis labeled not only hypoglossal motoneurons, but also facial motoneurons. HFA appeared to offer a significant quantitative motoneuron innervation higher than HHFA and then a higher probable better functional recovery. Both HFA and HHFA performed immediately after section of the facial nerve in rats did not result in a phenomenon of motor hyperinnervation. In our experimental model, the proximal facial nerve stump was coagulated at the stylomastoid foramen to avoid regeneration. Then, the labeled motoneurons into the facial nucleus could really be the expression of axonal projections from facial motoneurons to the hypoglossus nerve and facial muscles. No labeled motoneurons were seen contralaterally as we observed previously after section and repair of several nerves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
JournalNeurological Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Facial muscles
  • Facial nerve
  • Horseradish peroxidase
  • Hypoglossal nerve
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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