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Equine laryngeal hemiplegia. Part II. An electron microscopic study of peripheral nerves

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The recurrent laryngeal nerves were examined by electron microscopy in five control, four subclinical and four clinical laryngeal hemiplegic horses. In addition, the peroneal nerve was examined in two horses in the latter group. The distally distributed loss of large myelinated fibres in the left recurrent laryngeal nerve seen by light microscopy was confirmed. In addition, active axonal pathology was found to be more evident than indicated by light microscopic investigations. The “onion bulb” formations observed indicated the repetitive nature of the damaging influence to nerve fibres. Although the pathological changes were most obvious in the distal left recurrent laryngeal nerve, alterations similar in type and distribution were present in other areas of the left and right nerves, and in the distal hindlimb nerves. The observation of fibres with inappropriately thick myelin sheaths relative to their axonal calibre, was confirmed statistically by determining the regressions of axis cylinder perimeter against the number of myelin lamellae. In conclusion, the peripheral nerve pathology of equine laryngeal hemiplegia was demonstrated to be a distally distributed loss of myelinated fibres, with considerable active axonal damage, in conjunction with axonal atrophy. These features suggest that this disease may be classified as a distal axonopathy.

Keywords: Horse; Laryngeal disorders; Neurological

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1986

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