Objectives: Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) reduces the muscular contractions by temporarily inhibiting the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the BTX-A injected into the masseter muscle of a developing rat mandible. Materials and methods: Four-week-old male (no. 80) Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups: control group, saline group, BTX-A group and baseline control group. Rats of baseline group were sacrificed at 0 day to provide baseline values of the mandibular measurements. The masseter muscle of rats in the saline and the BTX-A group were administered with saline and BTX-A solutions respectively. Experimental animals were sacrificed after 4 weeks. Results: The BTX-A group demonstrated smaller mandibular dimension compared with the other groups (P < 0.05). Their condylar cartilages showed increased apoptosis at the proliferation stage of the reserve zone and masseter muscle fibers demonstrated atrophic changes. Conclusions: The result demonstrated BTX-A influence on inhibitory action of the developing mandible because of apoptosis at the proliferation stage of the reserve zone of the condylar cartilage in developing rat mandible.
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