Neuronal RNA in nucleus ambiguus and nucleus hypoglossus of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1989 Nov;48(6):669-73. doi: 10.1097/00005072-198911000-00008.


To establish objectively the involvement of neurons in the medulla oblongata in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), ribonucleic acid (RNA) content was determined in neurons of the hypoglossal nucleus and the nucleus ambiguus. Neurons from those two nuclei showed a significant loss of RNA content in patients with ALS; only 57% and 38% of the normal RNA content was found in hypoglossal and ambiguus neurons, respectively. This marked loss of neuronal RNA suggests changes in functional states of neurons, which may contribute to fasciculations in the tongue and difficulties in swallowing often associated with ALS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Medulla Oblongata / analysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / analysis*
  • RNA / analysis*


  • RNA