European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 7 - Number 3
Eur J Anat, 7 (3): 131-134 (2003)

Communication between the vagus and hypoglossal nerves

Saraswathi P.

Department of Anatomy, Stanley Medical College, Chennai 600 013, India

ABSTRACT Although the existence of the gross vagal-hypoglossal connection is known, no convincing role for the direct connection from the vagus to the hypoglossal nerve has been suggested. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anatomy of the vagal-hypoglossal connection. Forty human cadavers (22 males and 18 females), aged 25 to 75 years, were used. In 31 (75%) cadavers, there were two connections between the vagus and hypoglossal nerves, proximal to the inferior ganglion of the vagus and from the ganglion itself. In 8 (20%) cadavers there were only one connection joining the inferior ganglion of the vagus with the hypoglossal nerve. In 1 (2.5%) cadaver, the connection was by a thin intracranial vagal branch, proximal to its superior ganglion, joined the extracranial hypoglossal nerve. The communication was never from the vagus distal to the inferior ganglion. In 5 (12.5%) cadavers, the inferior ganglion of the vagus was bound to the trunk of the hypoglossal nerve and it was difficult to separate the nerve from the ganglion. Results suggest that the vagal-hypoglossal communication could be the afferent and efferent limbs for reflexes involving the tongue.

Keywords: adult, aged, article, cadaver, clinical article, female, ganglion, human, human tissue, hypoglossal nerve, male, nerve cell network, neuroanatomy, tongue, vagus nerve

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)