Date of Award

Winter 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Sciences

Committee Director

Julie K. Terzis

Committee Member

Keith A. Carson

Committee Member

Francis J. Liuzzi

Committee Member

Charles W. Morgan


One of the most unsettling sequela of facial paralysis (FP) is the loss of eye sphincter function and the blink response, leading to functional, psychological and aesthetic deficits. A medley of restorative microsurgery approaches have been employed in treating these deficits, however full recovery of function remains elusive. The present research utilized the rat model of facial paralysis, and consisted of three stages. Stage I examined the facial motor neuron (FMN) pool of the eye sphincter (orbicularis oculi muscle=OOM) and identified the facial nerve branch which provides the majority of innervation to the OOM. II. Examined the efficacy of the cross-facial nerve graft (CFNG) treatment of FP (behaviorally and histomorphometrically), III. Evaluated the efficacy of a dual treatment approach, by combining the CFNG and local administration via osmotic pump of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). Results demonstrated that IGF-I (50 $\mu$g/ml) enhanced recovery of function, its time of onset, as well as the histomorphometric profile of the nerve graft. While results were encouraging, full recovery of function was not achieved with IGF-I. Further studies using different doses of IGF-I, as well as using multiple growth factors and nerve grafting are warranted.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences.