Pairs of cranial nerves

These nerves connect directly to the brain. Between them they provide a nerve supply to sensory organs, muscles and skin of the head and neck. Some of the nerves are mixed containing both motor and sensory nerves, while others are either sensory or motor.

Olfactory bulb

Olfactory tract

Optic tract

Vestibulocochlear

Hypoglossal

Vagus

Olfactory bulb

Olfactory tract

Optic tract

Vestibulocochlear

Hypoglossal

Vagus

Olfactory Optic

Oculomotor

Trochlear

Trigeminal

Abducens

Glossopharyngeal

Facial

Accessory

Fig 8.8 The cranial nerves

Olfactory Optic

Oculomotor

Trochlear

Trigeminal

Abducens

Glossopharyngeal

Facial

Accessory

Fig 8.8 The cranial nerves

Cranial nerve

Type of nerve

Description

Olfactory

Sensory

Nerve of olfaction

Optic

Sensory

Nerve of vision

Oculomotor

Mixed nerve

Innervates both internal and external muscles of the eye and a

muscle of the upper eyelid

Smallest of the cranial nerves

Trochlear

Motor nerve

Innervates the superior oblique muscle of the eyeball which helps you look upwards

Abducens

Mixed nerve

Innervates only the lateral rectus muscle of the eye which helps you look to the side

Conducts impulses to and from several areas in the face and neck

Facial

Mixed nerve

The sensory branches are associated with the taste receptors on the tongue, and the motor fibres transmit impulses to the muscles of facial expression

Vestibulocochlear

Sensory nerve

Transmits impulses generated by auditory stimuli and stimuli related to equilibrium, balance and movement

Cranial nerve

Type of nerve

Description

Glossopharyngeal

Mixed nerve

Supplies motor fibres to part of the pharynx and to the parotid salivary glands, and sensory fibres to the posterior third of the tongue and the soft palate

Vagus

Mixed

Has branches to numerous organs in the thorax and abdomen as well as the neck

Supplies motor nerve fibres to the muscles of swallowing and to the heart and organs of the chest cavity

Sensory fibres carry impulses from the organs of the abdominal cavity and the sensation of taste from the mouth

Accessory

Motor

Innervating muscles in the neck and upper back, such as the trapezius and the sternomastoid, as well as muscles of the palate, pharynx and larynx

Hypoglossal

Motor

Innervates the muscles of the tongue

Trigemenal has three main branches:

• the ophthalmic branch carries sensations from the eye, nasal cavity and skin of the forehead, upper eyelid, eyebrow and part of the nose

• the maxillary branch carries sensations from the lower eyelid, upper lip, gums, teeth, cheek, nose, palate and part of the pharynx

• the mandibular branch carries sensations from the lower gums, teeth, lips, palate and part of the tongue

Mixed

Containing motor and sensory nerves that conduct impulses to and from several areas in the face and neck

Also controls the muscles of mastication (the masseter, temporalis and pterygoids)

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