Hypoplasia and neuronal immaturity of the hypoglossal nucleus in sudden infant death

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Abstract

Objective:

To report the case of five month old female baby with a history of episodes of gastro-oesophageal reflux and pneumonia. Her sudden death offered a unique insight into the possible role of delayed neuronal maturation and hypoplasia of the hypoglossal nucleus in representing a likely morphological substrate of sudden death.

Methods:

Morphometric analysis was carried out with an Image-Pro Plus Image analyser (Media Cybernetics) on both sides of the brain stem.

Results:

Hypoplasia and neuronal immaturity of the hypoglossal nucleus were demonstrated, accompanied by hypoplasia of the arcuate nucleus.

Conclusions:

Much attention should be paid to the possible role of the hypoglossal nucleus in determining a lethal outcome in infancy through impairment of deglutition and subsequent recurrent episodes of pneumonia, and as a necropsy finding.

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