Cranial nerve nucleus

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Brain: Cranial nerve nucleus
The cranial nerve nuclei schematically represented; dorsal view. Motor nuclei in red; sensory in blue. (The olfactory and optic centers are not represented.)
Latin nucleus nervi cranialis
Gray's p.881
NeuroLex ID nlx_28532

A cranial nerve nucleus is a collection of neurons (gray matter) in the brain stem that is associated with one or more cranial nerves. Axons carrying information to and from the cranial nerves form a synapse first at these nuclei. Lesions occurring at these nuclei can lead to effects resembling those seen by the severing of nerve(s) they are associated with. All the nuclei except that of the IV nerve supply nerves of the same side of the body.

Arrangement of the nuclei[edit]

Just as grey matter in the ventral (closer to front of a human) spinal cord tends to be efferent (motor) fibers, and the dorsal horn tends to contain afferent (sensory) neurons, nuclei in the brainstem are arranged in an analogous way.

Examples of nuclei[edit]

There are several cranial nerve nuclei (roman numeral refers to the cranial nerve number):

midbrain (mesencephalon)[edit]

pons (metencephalon)[edit]

medulla oblongata (myelencephalon)[edit]

Micrograph of the posterior portion of the open part of the medulla oblongata, showing the fourth ventricle (top of image) and the hypoglossal nucleus (medial - left of image) and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve (lateral - right of image). H&E-LFB stain.


Additional images[edit]

External links[edit]