palatoglossus muscle (anatomy)

Last reviewed 01/2018

Palatoglossus is one of the muscles of the soft palate. On each side,it arises from the palatine aponeurosis at the posterior part of the hard palate. It descends inferolaterally to insert into the posterolateral surface of the tongue. During its course through the posterior part of the oral cavity, it is covered medially by mucous membrane, so forming the palatoglossal arch.

It is innervated by the pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve (CN X). However, its motor fibres originate in the cranial accessory nerve (CN XI).

Palatoglossus acts to:

  • elevate the dorsum of the tongue
  • draw the soft palate inferiorly

Combined, both actions close the oropharyngeal isthmus and are vital for the initiation of swallowing.