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Afferent And Efferent Components Of The Hypoglossal Nerve In The Grass Frog, Rana Pipiens

S. Stuesse, W. Cruce, K. Powell
Published 1983 · Biology, Medicine

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In amphibians, the spinomedullary region of the central nervous system is compressed rostrocaudally because of the absence of a neck. In Ranid frogs, the hypoglossal nerve emerges as the ventral ramus of the second spinal nerve. The first spinal nerve, though present in tadpoles, is absent as a separate nerve in adults. To investigate the central nervous system components of the hypoglossal nerve in Rana pipiens, we soaked identified, transected branches of this nerve in horseradish peroxidase, a retrograde and antercgrade tracer. We found that the hypoglossal nerve in these frogs originates from two efferent nuclei located in the caudal medulla, a medial and a lateral one. Afferent fibers, primarily from the tongue, are also found in the hypoglossal nerve and travel in the dorsolateral funiculus of the spinal cord, descending to thoracic levels of the cord. Efferents to intrinsic tongue muscles and the genioglossus muscle originate in the medial medullary nucleus. Efferents to the sternohyoid muscle, which travel through the hypoglossal nerve, originate in the lateral medullary nucleus. Since in mammals the sternohyoid muscle is innervated by the first spinal nerve, we have obtained experimental evidence that the hypoglossal nerve in Rana pipiens contains components of this spinal nerve.
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