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Spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve

The spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve is one of three major nuclei that make up the trigeminal sensory nerve nuclear complex along with the main sensory nucleus and the mesencephalic nucleus 1-2.  

Gross anatomy

The spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve is a paired structure and is an inferior continuation of the main sensory nucleus of the trigeminal nerve within the caudal pons. It extends inferiorly through the medulla to the level of the upper cervical cord (approximately C2 to C3 levels) where it becomes continuous with the dorsal horn of the spinal cord.  The spinal nucleus lies ventral to the vestibular and cochlear nuclei and medial to the inferior cerebellar peduncles.

Innervation

The spinal nucleus receives afferent impulses from the unilateral face which convey information about pain, temperature and crude touch.

The spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve also receives sensory afferent impulses from the glossopharyngeal nerve (from the pharynx, soft palate and tympanic membrane) and the vagus nerve (from the meninges, external auditory canal and the external ear).

Anatomy: Brain

Anatomy: Brain

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 76741
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • spinal nucleus

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: brainstem sensory nuclei - Gray's anatomy illustration
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  • Figure 2: brainstem nuclei: dorsal section - Gray's anatomy illustration
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