What Is The Function Of Trigeminal Nerve

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What Is The Function Of Trigeminal Nerve

What Is The Function Of Trigeminal Nerve

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The main regulator of the sensory modalities of the head is the trigeminal nerve. It is the fifth of twelve pairs of cranial nerves responsible for transmitting many motor, sensory and autonomic stimuli to the structures of the head and neck.

Although the trigeminal nerve (CN V) is primarily a sensory nerve, it also joins the motor supply region. Unlike other cranial nerves, the trigeminal nerve is very large. It has four nuclei that send fibers to form its leaflets and are associated with three different branches.

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The purpose of this article is to discuss the anatomy, pathway, and distribution of the trigeminal nerve. Additional discussion will also be included surrounding the clinical examination to assess the integrity of the trigeminal nerve.

As the name suggests, the trigeminal nerve is a tripartite entity made up of distinct terminal divisions. Each component of the nerve is responsible for a specific area of ​​the face and transmits specific impulses. The three divisions of the trigeminal nerve are:

The ophthalmic branch is the first division of the trigeminal nerve. It is a purely sensory nerve that carries pain, light touch, and temperature stimuli from the upper eyelids of the face and the supraorbital region of the face to the crown of the head. The nerve also acts as a conduit for sympathetic fibers that need access to the ciliary body, lacrimal glands, cornea, and conjunctiva of the eye. In addition, the ophthalmic branch carries fibers originating from the dura mater of the anterior cranial fossa, frontal sinus, and superior aspect of the nasal cavity.

What Is The Function Of Trigeminal Nerve

The ophthalmic division also has several tributaries. The three main nerves forming the CNV1 are the nasociliary, frontal, and lacrimal nerves. The acronym NFL (as in American football) is also useful to recall these three branches. The nerves unite within the superior orbital fissure to form the ophthalmic division. Once formed, the optic nerve receives its meningeal tributary from the dura of the anterior cranial fossa.

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Additional sympathetic branches from the cavernous sinus also join the optic nerve. CN V1 travels along the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus below CN IV (trochlear nerve) and above CN V2. It continues posteriorly and emerges from the cavernous sinus of Meckel’s cave, where it pierces the meninges and enters the concave surface of the trigeminal ganglion. The branches of the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve are summarized below.

Like the ophthalmic branch, the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve (CN V2) is a sensory entity that carries impulses from the midface. There is a middle meningeal branch that receives stimulation from the dura of the middle cranial fossa. In addition, the zygomatic, pterygopalatine, and posterior superior alveolar nerves join at the opening of the foramen rotundum to form the maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve.

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Trigeminal Nerve (cn V): Anatomy, Function And Branches

As this nerve enters the cranial vault, it passes along the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus below the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve. It maintains a posterior course until it penetrates the meninges and joins the trigeminal ganglion within Meckel’s cave. For a short course, the nerve is sandwiched between CN V1 (superior) and CN V3 (inferior).

The last of the three trigeminal branches is the mandibular division (CN V3). As the largest component of the CNV, it carries sensory and motor stimulation. Motor branches correspond to muscles originating from the first pharyngeal arch. Sensory branches supply the lower third of the face, except for the angle of the mandible (supplied by the second and third cervical segments). Although it carries sensory modalities from the mouth and gums, it does not carry specific stimuli (i.e. taste). However, the lingual nerve, a branch of CN V3, acts as a conduit to the chorda tympani (a branch of CN VII), which carries taste stimuli.

Buccal skin, anterior two-thirds of tongue, temporal region; Muscles of mastication, mylohyoid muscles, and anterior belly of the digastric muscle

What Is The Function Of Trigeminal Nerve

The motor components of CN V3 travel along the large sensory fibers as single, thin, nerve fibers. Together they travel through the external opening of the foramen ovale and move into Meckel’s cave. Before penetrating the trigeminal ganglion, the nerve receives the recurrent meningeal nerve, which carries afferent impulses from the dura.

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The three branches of the trigeminal nerve unite in a shallow depression on the posteromedial side of the middle cranial fossa known as Meckel’s cave. In this fossa, the nerves come together to form the semilunar (gasserian, or trigeminal) ganglion. Central to these structures is the superior petrosal sinus, which may correspond superiorly or inferiorly to the opening of Meckel’s cave. The clivus, basilar venous plexus, ventral aspect of the pons, and brain stem are also connected to the cavern. Lateral, the center of the temporal lobe is adjacent to Meckel’s cave.

As the fibers of the trigeminal nerve leave the trigeminal ganglion, they travel superomedially to the pons. Here the sensory and motor divisions of the nerve penetrate the lateral surface of the pons near the superior pontine sulcus. Once inside the pons, half of the sensory fibers divide into ascending and descending groups. Ascending groups will move to the mesencephalic nucleus, while descending group will join the spinal trigeminal nucleus. The remaining sensory fibers will travel dorsomedial to the main sensory nucleus, while the motor fibers will take a similar course to reach the motor nucleus.

Of the twelve cranial nerves within the human body, only the trigeminal nerve is associated with four nuclei. From cranial to caudal, these nuclei are:

The mesencephalic nucleus is a bilaterally paired, thread-like collection of unipolar neurons extending from the level of the principal sensory nucleus in the pons to the rostral part of the tegmentum in the midbrain (within the lateral periaqueductal gray matter). Although these nuclei are located within the midbrain, they communicate with the trigeminal nerve and not with the basal ganglia. This nucleus is responsible for processing proprioception – the body’s ability to detect the spatial orientation of different body parts in relation to itself and surrounding structures.

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As myelinated axons leave the mesencephalic nucleus, they coalesce to form the mesencephalic tract. Individual axons then divide into central and peripheral branches. Central branches carry impulses from neuromuscular spindles within the muscles of mastication and bite reflex arcs to the motor neuron of the trigeminal nerve. Other central fibers and the reticular formation synapse with the sensory trigeminal nerve. Others also have access to the cerebellum through the superior cerebellar peduncle. This interplay between the proprioceptive and motor divisions of the trigeminal nerve helps control stretch muscle activity; By extension, the process of mastication.

On the other hand, peripheral branches originate from the neuromuscular spindle apparatus within the muscles of mastication and other proprioceptive points on the teeth of the upper and lower jaws. The fibers of the lower jaw pass through the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve (CNV3), while those originating in the upper jaw gain access to the nucleus via the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve (CNV2). The fibers of the mandibular division originating from the muscle spindle fibers also travel to the motor nucleus and transmit information about stretching the muscles of mastication.

The main sensory nucleus of the trigeminal nerve is also called the pontine, chief, superior, or principal trigeminal nucleus. It is laterally associated with the motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve within the dorsal aspect of the pontine tegmentum. The cell bodies of afferent axons feeding the main (as well as mesencephalic and spinal) sensory nuclei reside in Meckel’s cave as the trigeminal ganglion. Other fibers originating from the mesencephalic nucleus of the trigeminal nerve also send proprioceptive impulses to the main sensory nucleus. Other large fibers that carry the discriminating touch

What Is The Function Of Trigeminal Nerve

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