The Cranial Nerves

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The pharynx | Main Anatomy Index | The autonomic nervous system

Last updated 30 March 2006

The Cranial Nerves

Cranial Nerve Emergence from the brain
CN I: Olfactory nerve Olfactory regions of the brain
CN II: Optic nerve Optic tract --> Optic chiasma
CN III: Oculomotor nerve Base of midbrain near the median plane
CN IV: Trochlear nerve Dorsal part of midbrain
CN V: Trigeminal nerve Lateral part of pons at the junction between the pons and middle cerebellar peduncle
CN VI: Abducent nerve Between caudal bordor of pons and superior end of the pyramid of the medulla - pontomedullary junction
CN VII: Facial nerve Caudal border of pons, lateral to superior border of the olive of the medulla
CN VIII: Vestibulocochlear nerve Groove between pons and medulla
CN IX: Glossopharyngeal nerve 3 or 4 rootlets from the groove between the olive and the inferior cerebellar peduncle
CN X: Vagus nerve 8 to 10 rootlets from the groove between the olive and the inferior cerebellar peduncle
CN XI: Accessory nerve
Spinal Root: segments from C6 to C1 join and ascend up through the foramen magnum
Cranial Root: 4 or 5 rootlets from the lateral part of the medulla
CN XII: Hypoglossal nerve 10 to 15 rootlets from the groove between the olive and pyramid of the medulla
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Number Nerve Special Sense Sensory (Afferent) Motor (Efferent) Parasympathetic
CN I Olfactory X      
CN II Optic X      
CN III Oculomotor     X X
CN IV Trochlear     X  
CN V Trigeminal   X X  
CN VI Abducent     X  
CN VII Facial X X X X
CN VIII Vestibulocochlear X      
CN IX Glossopharyngeal X X X X
CN X Vagus X X X X
CN XI Accessory     X  
CN XII Hypoglossal     X  


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The Olfactory Nerve (CN I) (p. 853)


Optic Nerve (CN II) (pp. 854, 857)


The Oculomotor Nerve (CN III) (p. 859)


The Trochlear Nerve (CN IV) (p. 861)

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The Trigeminal Nerve (CN V) (pp. 861, 863, 865)

Click here to go to the innervation of the skin of the face.


The Ophthalmic Nerve (CN V1) (p. 863)


Branches of the Ophthalmic Nerve


The Maxillary Nerve (CN V2) (p. 863)

Click here for a diagram on the distribution of the maxillary nerve.


Branches of the Maxillary Nerve


The Mandibular Nerve (CN V3) (pp. 863, 865)


Branches of the Mandibular Nerve

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The Abducent Nerve (CN VI) (p. 865)


The Facial Nerve (CN VII) (p. 866)


Branches of the Facial Nerve (p. 866)

Click here to go to the facial nerve under the innervation of the muscles of facial expression.

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The Vestibulocochlear Nerve (CN VIII) (pp. 866, 869)


The Vestibular Nerve (p. 869)


The Cochlear Nerve (p. 869)


The Glossopharyngeal Nerve (CN IX) (p. 869)


Branches of the Glossopharyngeal Nerve (p. 869)

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The Vagus Nerve (CN X) (p. 871)


Branches of the Vagus Nerve (p. 871)


The Accessory Nerve (CN XI) (p. 873)


The Hypoglossal Nerve (CN XII) (p. 873)


Branches of the Hypoglossal Nerve (pp. 873-875)

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Michael Tam (c) 1999