Preparation of the rat vocal fold for neuromuscular analyses

Charles Lenell, Adrianna C. Shembel, Aaron M. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this tutorial is to describe the preparation of the rat vocal fold for histochemical neuromuscular study. This protocol outlines procedures for rat laryngeal dissection, flash-freezing, and cryosectioning of the vocal folds. This study describes how to cryosection vocal folds in both longitudinal and cross-sectional planes. A novelty of this protocol is the laryngeal tracking during cryosectioning that ensures accurate identification of the intrinsic laryngeal muscles and reduces the chance of tissue loss. Figures demonstrate the progressive cryosectioning in both planes. Twenty-nine rat hemi-larynges were cryosectioned and tracked from the emergence of the thyroid cartilage to the appearance of the first section that included the full vocal fold. The full vocal fold was visualized for all animals in both planes. There was high variability in the distance from the appearance of the thyroid cartilage to the appearance of the full vocal fold in both planes. Weight was not correlated to depth of laryngeal landmarks, suggesting individual variability and other factors related to tissue preparation may be responsible for the high variability in the appearance of landmarks during sectioning. This study details a methodology and presents morphological data for preparing the rat vocal fold for histochemical neuromuscular investigation. Due to high individual variability, laryngeal landmarks should be closely tracked during cryosectioning to prevent oversectioning tissue and tissue loss. The use of a consistent methodology, including adequate tissue preparation and awareness of landmarks within the rat larynx, will assist with consistent results across studies and aid new researchers interested in using the rat vocal fold as a model to investigate laryngeal neuromuscular mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere61327
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number159
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Issue 159
  • Larynx
  • Neuroscience
  • Rat
  • Thyroarytenoid muscle
  • Vocal fold
  • Vocal fold histology
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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