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Extrinsic muscles of the tongue. Left side.
Latin musculus genioglossus
Gray's subject #242 1129
Origin: Superior part of mental spine of mandible (symphysis menti)
Insertion: Dorsum of tongue and body of hyoid
Artery: Lingual artery
Nerve: Hypoglossal nerve (CN XII)
Action: Complex - Inferior fibers protrude the tongue, middle fibers depress the tongue, and its superior fibers draw the tip back and down
Dorlands/Elsevier m_22/12549183

The genioglossus is a muscle of the human body which runs from the chin to the tongue.


Genioglossus is the fan-shaped extrinsic tongue muscle that forms the majority of the body of the tongue. Its origin is the mental spine of the mandible and its insertions are the hyoid bone and the dorsum of the tongue. Innervated by the hypoglossal nerve (CN XII), it depresses and protrudes the tongue.

Clinical relevance

A relaxation of the genioglossus and geniohyoideus muscles, especially during REM sleep, is implicated in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA.)[1]

Peripheral damage to the hypoglossal nerve can result in deviation of the tongue to the damaged side.


The name derives from Greek roots: "Geneion" for chin, and "glossa" for tongue.

Additional images


  1. Herder et al. (2004) "Risks of general anaesthesia in people with obstructive sleep apnoea" British Medical Journal 329 (7472):955-959

External links

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