Conclusion: The lingual branches of the glossopharyngeal nerve were most likely to bring not only gustatory nerves to the postsulcal part of the tongue but also autonomic nerves to the small glands and vessels. Tonsillectomy may injure the ganglion or reduce its function due to scar formation after surgery. Objectives: To determine the topographical anatomy of a suggested ganglion cluster along the lingual branches of the glossopharyngeal nerve and to identify the incidence. Methods: In the human pharynges of 12 donated cadavers, we studied the ganglia using routine procedures for paraffin-embedded histology and immunohistochemistry. Results: Near the palatine tonsil, the lingual branches of the glossopharyngeal nerve often contained ganglion cells (in 9 of 12 specimens). The ganglion cells, 20-40 μ in diameter, were sparsely distributed along a 0.5-3.0 mm length of the nerve course attached to the posterolateral aspect of the superior pharyngeal constrictor. Most of these cells were positive for neuronal nitric oxide synthase, while some were positive for tyrosine hydroxylase. Thus, the ganglion was composed of a mixed population of sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons.
- Human anatomy
- Lingual branches of glossopharyngeal nerve
- Neuronal nitric oxide synthase
- Tyrosine hydroxylase
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