Abnormal palatopharyngeal muscle morphology in sleep-disordered breathing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of the present study was to investigate whether histopathological changes can be detected in two soft palate muscles, the palatopharyngeus and the uvula, in 11 patients with long duration of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). Muscle samples were collected froth patients undergoing uvulo-palatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). Reference samples from the corresponding areas were obtained at autopsy froth five previously healthy subjects. Muscle morphology, fibre type and myosin heavy chain (MyHC) compositions were analysed with enzyme-histochemical, immunohistochemical and biochemical techniques. The muscle samples from the patients, and especially those from the palatopharyngeus, showed several morphological abnormalities. The most striking findings were (i) increased amount of connective tissue, (ii) abnormal variability in fibre size, (iii) increased proportion of small-sized fibres, (iv) alterations in fibre type and MyHC compositions, (v) increased frequency of fibres containing developmental MyHC isoforms. Our findings point towards a pathological process of denervation and degeneration in the patient samples. Conclusively. the morphological abnormalities suggest a neuromuscular disorder of the soft palate in SDB patients. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Rolf Lindman
  • PS Stal
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery


  • types, fibre, myosin, muscle, soft palate, apnea, sleep-disordered breathing, snoring
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch