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Sleeping tongue: current perspectives of genioglossus control in healthy individuals and patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Authors Cori JM, O'Donoghue FJ, Jordan AS

Received 25 January 2018

Accepted for publication 28 March 2018

Published 15 June 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 169—179

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S143296

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea


Jennifer M Cori,1 Fergal J O’Donoghue,1 Amy S Jordan2

1Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, VIC, Australia; 2Department of Psychology, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

Abstract: The focus of this review was on the genioglossus (GG) muscle and its role in maintaining upper airway patency in both healthy individuals and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. This review provided an overview of GG anatomy and GG control and function during both wakefulness and sleep in healthy individuals and in those with OSA. We reviewed evidence for the role of the GG in OSA pathogenesis and also highlighted abnormalities in GG morphology, responsiveness, tissue movement patterns and neurogenic control that may contribute to or result from OSA. We summarized the different methods for improving GG function and/or activity in OSA and their efficacy. In addition, we discussed the possibility that assessing the synergistic activation of multiple upper airway dilator muscles may provide greater insight into upper airway function and OSA pathogenesis, rather than assessing the GG in isolation.

Keywords: pharyngeal dilators, upper airway, airway obstruction, airway collapsibility and sleep

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