Cranial nerves

Cranial nerves

What are the locations and functions of the individual cranial nerves

Location and Function of Cranial Nerves

NerveLocation of NucleiFunctions
Olfactory (I)Olfactory bulbSensory: smell and olfactory reflex
Optic (II)ThalamusSensory : vision and visual reflexes
Oculomotor (III)MidbrainMotor : eye movement, eyelids, pupillary constriction, accommodation of lens
Trochlear (IV)MidbrainMotor : eye movement (superior oblique)
Trigeminal (V)MidbrainSensory : proprioception for chewing
PonsSensory : from face and cornea
Motor : to masticatory muscles and tensor tympani muscle
MedullaSensory : from face and mouth
Abducens (VI)PonsMotor : eye movement (lateral rectus)
Facial (VII)PonsSensory : from skin of external ear, taste from anterior tongue
Motor : facial expression, stapedius muscle movement, salivation, and lacrimation
Vestibulocochlear (VIII)Pons and medullaSensory : equilibrium and hearing
Glossopharyngeal (IX)MedullaSensory : from middle ear, palate, pharynx, and posterior tongue, taste from posterior tongue
Motor : swallowing, parotid gland salivation
Vagus (X)MedullaSensory : from pharynx, larynx, thorax, and abdomen, taste from epiglottis
Motor : swallowing and phonation
Autonomic : parasympathetics to thoracic and abdominal viscera
Spinal accessory (XI)MedullaMotor : sternocleidomastoid and upper trapezius muscles
Hypoglossal (XII)MedullaMotor : tongue


From Wilson-Pauwels L, Akesson EJ, Stewart PA: Cranial nerves: anatomy and clinical comments. Toronto: B.C. Decker, 1988.


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