A histological and histochemical study of the cricopharyngeus muscle in man

J Anat. 1988 Feb;156:27-37.


The human cricopharyngeus muscle was investigated by dissection and by histological, histochemical and morphometric methods. Muscle fibres in the cricopharyngeus were found to be similar in appearance to those of the lateral part of the quadriceps femoris, although they were generally much smaller and more variable in size. The endomysial connective tissue was markedly increased in the cricopharyngeus and muscle spindles were not found. Certain features normally considered to be pathological were also noted in the cricopharyngeus muscles. The fibre type population consisted mainly of histochemically 'slow-twitch' richly oxidative fibres. This finding is consistent with the proposed function of this muscle in its sphincteric role in deglutition, vomiting, eructation and in the control of aerophagia.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Autopsy
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Larynx / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscles / enzymology
  • Pharyngeal Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Pharyngeal Muscles / enzymology
  • Thigh / anatomy & histology


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases