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Anat Rec. 1999 Feb 1;254(2):222-30.

Organization of motoneurons in the dorsal hypoglossal nucleus that innervate the retrusor muscles of the tongue in the rat.

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Department of Anatomy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298-0709, USA. JMCCLUNG@GEMS.VCU.EDU


This anatomical investigation was prompted by the incomplete knowledge of the myotopic organization of the dorsal subdivison of the hypoglossal nucleus. Intrinsic muscle motoneurons were not segregated and labeled previously with regard to the lateral division of the hypoglossal nerve. Also, motoneuron number and cell size, in relation to the individual retrusor tongue musculature, were rarely addressed previously. Retrograde labeling ofretrusor muscle motoneurons in the dorsal subdivision of the rat hypoglossal nucleus was done. Cholera toxin conjugate horseradish peroxidase (CTHRP) was injected into the retrusor tongue muscles with only the lateral division of the hypoglossal nerve intact. The dorsal subdivision of the hypoglossal nucleus contained approximately 800 motoneurons ranging in cell body size from 19 to 41 microm. When either the styloglossus, hyoglossus, superior longitudinal, or inferior longitudinal muscle was isolated and injected with CTHRP, a separate motoneuron pool for each muscle was seen. The extrinsic muscle motoneurons, styloglossus and hyoglossus, were found rostrolateral and caudolateral respectively. In contrast, the intrinsic superior and inferior longitudinal muscle motoneurons were found more central and medial in the nucleus. Extrinsic muscle motoneurons were larger (approximately 30 microm) than intrinsic muscle motoneurons (approximately 26 microm; P < .0001). Intrinsic muscle motoneurons account for a great majority of the motoneurons in the dorsal aspect of the hypoglossal nucleus and their axons have been shown to be contained in the lateral (retrusor) division of the hypoglossal nerve. This study revealed the myotopic organization of the retrusor subdivision of the rat hypoglossal nucleus.

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