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Diagram depicting the main subdivisions of the embryonic vertebrate brain. These regions will later differentiate into forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain structures.
Scheme of the roof of the fourth ventricle.
NeuroLex IDbirnlex_942
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

The hindbrain, rhombencephalon (shaped like a rhombus) or lower brain[1] is a developmental categorization of portions of the central nervous system in vertebrates. It includes the medulla, pons, and cerebellum. Together they support vital bodily processes.[2]


Rhombomeres Rh3-Rh1 form the metencephalon.

The metencephalon is composed of the pons and the cerebellum; it contains:


Rhombomeres Rh8-Rh4 form the myelencephalon.

The myelencephalon forms the medulla oblongata in the adult brain; it contains:


The hindbrain is homologous to a part of the arthropod brain known as the sub-oesophageal ganglion, in terms of the genes that it expresses and its position in between the brain and the nerve cord.[3] It has been suggested that the hindbrain first evolved in the urbilaterian—the last common ancestor of chordates and arthropods—between 570 and 555 million years ago.[3][4]

Hindbrain diseases[edit]

A rare brain disease of the cerebellum is rhombencephalosynapsis characterized by an absent or partially formed vermis. Symptoms can include truncal ataxia. The disorder is a main feature of Gomez-Lopez-Hernandez syndrome.


  1. ^ "Brain: Parts & functions (Fore, mid & hind)". Khan Academy. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Brain atlas - Hindbrain". Brain explorer. Lundbeck Institute. Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Ghysen, Alain (1 December 2003). "The origin and evolution of the nervous system". International Journal of Developmental Biology. 47 (7–8): 555–562. PMID 14756331.
  4. ^ Haycock, Daniel E. (2011). Being and Perceiving. Manupod Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-9569621-0-2.

Further reading[edit]

  • Poretti, Andrea; Alber, Fabienne Dietrich; Bürki, Sarah; Toelle, Sandra P.; Boltshauser, Eugen (January 2009). "Cognitive outcome in children with rhombencephalosynapsis". European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. 13 (1): 28–33. doi:10.1016/j.ejpn.2008.02.005. PMID 18407532.