Glossopharyngeal evoked potentials in normal subjects following mechanical stimulation of the anterior faucial pillar

Masako Fujiu*, J. Richard Toleikis, Jeri A. Logemann, Chuck Larson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


The anterior faucial pillar, which is innervated by the glossopharyngeal nerve, is thought to be important in eliciting the pharyngeal swallow in awake humans. Glossopharyngeal evoked potentials (GPEP), elicited by mechanically stimulating this structure, were recorded from 30 normal adults using standard averaging techniques and a recording montage of 16 scalp electrodes. Ten of the subjects experienced a desire to swallow in response to stimulation. Repeatable responses were recorded from all 30 subjects. The GPEPs recorded from the posterior scalp were W-shaped and consisted of P1, N1, P2, N2 and P3 peaks. Mean latencies of P1, N1 and P2 were 11, 16 and 22 msec, respectively, for both left and right pillar stimulation. In contrast, latencies of N2 and P3 varied significantly between left and right pillar stimulation. Mean latencies of N2 and P3 were 27 and 34 msec for left, and 29 and 35 msec for right pillar stimulation. Topographical maps acquired at peak latencies for P1, N1 and P2 revealed consistent asymmetrical voltage distributions between the two hemispheres; the largest responses were recorded from the hemisphere ipsilateral to the side of stimulation. The scalp topography of N2 and P3 varied between male and female subjects as well as between left and right pillar stimulation. These findings support the hypothesis that mechanical stimulation to the anterior faucial pillar alone can elicit repeatable responses from the central nervous system. The integration of this subcortical/cortical activity with that of the medullary swallowing center may play an important role in eliciting the pharyngeal swallow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology/ Evoked Potentials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994



  • Anterior faucial pillar
  • Evoked potentials
  • Glossopharyngeal nerve
  • Mechanical stimulation
  • Swallowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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