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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Do the tensor tympani and tensor veli palatini muscles of man form a functional unit? A histochemical investigation of their putative connections.

The discussion among anatomists and otolaryngologists about the muscles originating from the Eustachian tube and the connections between the tensor tympani and tensor veli palatini muscles started in the 1860s. From then on, a considerable number of contradictory hypotheses and data have been presented. However, before discussing whether or not these two muscles form a functional unit, interest should focus on the question of whether it is even possible. The cartilaginous portion of the Eustachian tube with all muscles originating from it, including the whole tensor tympani muscle, was dissected from five perfusion-fixed cadavers and removed in toto. Complete longitudinal serial sections of 10 microm were made in the axis of the tensor tympani muscle. Sections were alternatingly stained according to Cason's and Maskar's techniques. The macroscopic aspect (under the operating microscope) of a tendinous connection between the two muscles under consideration could be proven by the histochemical methods used in all cases. Based on our findings and the literature reviewed we are convinced that the tensor tympani and tensor veli palatini muscles of man constitute a functional unit. This represents an important step forward towards the understanding of the possible functions the tensor tympani muscle serve in man.[1]


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