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TONGUE, MORPHOLOGY, COMPARATIVE anatomy, MUSCLES, and MOUTH
The muscle fibre composition of three human intrinsic tongue muscles, the longitudinalis, verticalis and transversus, was investigated in four anterior to posterior regions of the tongue using morphological and enzyme- and immunohistochemical techniques. All three muscles typically contained type I, IIA and IM/IIC fibres. Type I fibres expressed slow myosin heavy chain (MyHC), type II fibres fast MyHC, mainly fast A MyHC, whereas type IM/IIC coexpressed slow and fast MyHCs. Type II fibres were in the majority (60%), but regional differences in proportion and diameter of fibre types were obvious. The anterior region of the tongue contained a predominance of relatively small type II fibres (71%), in contrast to the posterior region which instead showed a majority of larger type I and type IM/IIC fibres (66%). In general, the fibre diameter was larger in the posterior region. This muscle fibre composition of the tongue differs from those of limb, orofacial and masticatory muscles, probably reflecting genotypic as well as phenotypic functional specialization in oral function. The predominance of type II fibres and the regional differences in fibre composition, together with intricate muscle structure, suggest generally fast and flexible actions in positioning and shaping the tongue, during vital tasks such as mastication, swallowing, respiration and speech.Copyright © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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