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Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy

Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy

Recurrent Laryngeal NeuropathyRecurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) is a common cause of poor performance in athletic horses, associated with cricoarytenoideus dorsalis muscle paresis, due to a distal axonopathy of the recurrent laryngeal nerves (RLns), predominantly on the left side. The disorder is a major welfare concern and causes significant financial losses to racing worldwide. Despite the disease’s importance, the aetiology and pathogenesis are poorly understood and there have been few advances since key experiments that suggested that defects in axonal transport underlie the disease mechanism. 

In collaboration with Professor Richard Piercy and his group at the Royal Veterinary College in London, we are studying whethers axonal transport defects underlie RLN and whether the nerve length dependency is related to a defect in the axonal survival pathway. The findings of this study could be relevant to similar axonopathies in humans (Charcot Marie Tooth diseases and motor neuron disease), several of which are associated with length-dependent motor nerve loss in the distal extremities even though the genetic defect is present in all nerves. In humans, the motor nerves to the feet are the longest nerves in the body while in contrast, in horses, the longest motor nerves are the RLns.