Some Neurohistological and Histochemical Observations on the Human Tongue

Original article


K.N. Bhargava, C.C.S. Rao, Ghulam Hassan, Vir Bala Manhas

Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Garyounis, Benghazi, S.P.L.A .J.

Garyounis Medical Journal Vol. 6, No.1. January 1983:21-26


A neurohistological and histochemical study of the tongue of man using chiefly thiocholine technique along with routine silver impregnation methods has been made. Specific and non-specific cholinesterases have been demonstrated in different parts of the tongue. Intrinsic innervation of the tongue, as revealed by the thiocholine technique has been compared with silver impregnation methods.
1. Cholinesterase activity has been demonstrated in the fungiform, circumvallate and tips of the filiform papillae. However, most of the activity proved to be pseudocholinesterase (ChE) except in the nerves and nerve plexuses supplying these structures.
2. An AChE-positive sub-epithelial neural network was seen.
3. Strongly AChE-positive nerves supplying the muscles and motor end plates were observed. The latter were usually arranged in a definite regular fashion.
4. Solitary parasympathetic ganglia were seen only occasionally in relation to the cholinesterase positive nerves, especially in the posterior part of the tongue.
5. A rich AChE positive perivascular plexus was observed around most of the blood vessels. Both thick as well as thin nerves were seen taking part in the plexus.
6. The Von Ebner’s glands, seen in relation to the circumvallate papillae, were rich in their glycogen content as demonstrated in sections stained with P.A.S.
The significance of these findings has been discussed.

Keywords: Some Neurohistological and Histochemical Observations on the Human Tongue