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Pharyngoglottal Closure Reflex: Identification And Characterization In A Feline Model

Reza Shaker, Bidyut K. Medda, Junlong Ren, Safwan Jaradeh, Pengyan Xie, Ivan M. Lang

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Earlier studies in humans have shown that pharyngeal stimulation by water at a threshold volume induces a brief vocal cord adduction, i.e., pharyngoglottal closure reflex. The present study was undertaken to 1) develop a suitable animal model for physiological studies of this reflex and 2) delineate its neural pathway and effector organs. Studies were done in cats by concurrent videoendoscopy and manometry followed by electromyographic studies. At a threshold volume (0.3 ± 0.06 ml), injection of water into the pharynx resulted in a brief closure of the vocal folds, closing the introitus to the trachea. Duration of this closure averaged 1.1 ± 0.1 s. Bilateral transection of the glossopharyngeal nerve completely abolished this reflex but not swallows induced by pharyngeal water stimulation. The pharyngoglottal closure reflex is present in the cats. The glossopharyngeal nerve is the afferent pathway of this reflex, and the interarytenoid and lateral cricoarytenoid muscles are among its target organs.