Altered axonal excitability properties in facial palsy

Timothy J. Eviston, Lauren S. H. Chong, Natalie C. G. Kwai, Jonathan R. Clark, Arun V. Krishnan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Axonal excitability measures give insight into the biophysical properties of peripheral nerve axons. In this study we applied these techniques to the study of facial palsy. Methods: Thirty patients with established facial palsy due to unresolved Bell's palsy or herpes zoster (>6 months duration), tumor invasion of the facial nerve, or traumatic facial nerve injury were assessed using facial nerve excitability techniques. Results: Full recordings were obtained in 23 patients (15 unrecovered Bell's palsy or herpes zoster, 5 trauma, 3 tumor-related). Compared with normal controls, the facial palsy group demonstrated changes in stimulus response properties, threshold electrotonus, refractoriness, superexcitability, and I/V slope. Depolarizing threshold electrotonus distinguished between viral and non-viral etiologies on subgroup analysis. Discussion: In this cross-sectional study, established facial palsy demonstrated findings similar to those seen in studies of regenerated axons. The improved understanding of underlying axonal characteristics offered by the technique may guide future treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-272
Number of pages5
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Axon
  • Facial nerve
  • Nerve excitability
  • Threshold electrotonus
  • Wallerian degeneration


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