Trochlear nucleus

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Trochlear nucleus
Outline of the nucleus raphes dorsalis:
DRif interfascicular subnucleus,
DRv ventral subnucleus
DRvl ventrolateral subnucleus
DRd dorsal subnucleus
mlf medial longitudinal fasciculus
Aq cerebral aqueduct
IVn trochlear nucleus.
The cranial nerve nuclei schematically represented; dorsal view. Motor nuclei in red; sensory in blue. (Trochlear is "IV")
Latin nucleus nervi trochlearis
NeuroNames 513
NeuroLex ID birnlex_1488
TA98 A14.1.06.319
TA2 5890
FMA 54518
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

The nucleus of the trochlear nerve ( /ˈtrɒklɪər/ ) [1] is located in the midbrain, at an intercollicular level between the superior colliculus and inferior colliculus. [2] It is a motor nucleus, and so is located near the midline, embedded within the medial longitudinal fasciculus (see diagram at right). The oculomotor nerve and trochlear nerve are the only two cranial nerves with nuclei in the midbrain, other than the trigeminal nerve, which has a midbrain nucleus called the mesencephalic nucleus of trigeminal nerve, which functions in preserving dentition.


Oddly, fibers from the trochlear nucleus cross over in the trochlear decussation of the midbrain, located in the superior medullary velum to exit dorsally, the only cranial nerve to do so. The trochlear nerve then goes around the midbrain, and is visible coming out of the sides.

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Cranial nerves Nerves that emerge directly from the brain and the brainstem

Cranial nerves are the nerves that emerge directly from the brain, of which there are conventionally considered twelve pairs. Cranial nerves relay information between the brain and parts of the body, primarily to and from regions of the head and neck, including the special senses of vision, taste, smell, and hearing.

Abducens nerve

The abducens nerve is the sixth cranial nerve (CNVI), in humans, that controls the movement of the lateral rectus muscle, responsible for outward gaze. It is a somatic efferent nerve.

Articles related to anatomy include:


The pons is part of the brainstem, and in humans and other bipeds lies inferior to the midbrain, superior to the medulla oblongata and anterior to the cerebellum.

Brainstem Posterior part of the brain, adjoining and structurally continuous

The brainstem is the posterior part of the brain, continuous with the spinal cord. In the human brain the brainstem is composed of the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata. The midbrain is continuous with the thalamus of the diencephalon through the tentorial notch, and sometimes the diencephalon is included in the brainstem.

Oculomotor nerve

The oculomotor nerve is the third cranial nerve. It enters the orbit via the superior orbital fissure and innervates extrinsic eye muscles that enable most movements of the eye and that raise the eyelid. The nerve also contains fibers that innervate the intrinsic eye muscles that enable pupillary constriction and accommodation. The oculomotor nerve is derived from the basal plate of the embryonic midbrain. Cranial nerves IV and VI also participate in control of eye movement.

Trochlear nerve

The trochlear nerve, also called the fourth cranial nerve or CN IV, is a motor nerve that innervates only a single muscle: the superior oblique muscle of the eye, which operates through the pulley-like trochlea.

Trigeminal nerve

The trigeminal nerve (the fifth cranial nerve, or simply CN V) is a nerve responsible for sensation in the face and motor functions such as biting and chewing; it is the most complex of the cranial nerves. Its name ("trigeminal" = tri-, or three, and - geminus, or twin: thrice-twinned) derives from the fact that each of the two nerves (one on each side of the pons) has three major branches: the ophthalmic nerve (V1), the maxillary nerve (V2), and the mandibular nerve (V3). The ophthalmic and maxillary nerves are purely sensory, whereas the mandibular nerve supplies motor as well as sensory (or "cutaneous") functions. Adding to the complexity of this nerve is the fact that autonomic nerve fibers as well as special sensory fibers (taste) are contained within it.

Midbrain Forward-most portion of the brainstem

The midbrain or mesencephalon is the forward-most portion of the brainstem and is associated with vision, hearing, motor control, sleep and wakefulness, arousal (alertness), and temperature regulation. The name comes from the Greek mesos, "middle", and enkephalos, "brain".

Oculomotor nucleus

The fibers of the oculomotor nerve arise from a nucleus in the midbrain, which lies in the gray substance of the floor of the cerebral aqueduct and extends in front of the aqueduct for a short distance into the floor of the third ventricle. From this nucleus the fibers pass forward through the tegmentum, the red nucleus, and the medial part of the substantia nigra, forming a series of curves with a lateral convexity, and emerge from the oculomotor sulcus on the medial side of the cerebral peduncle.

Medial longitudinal fasciculus

The medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) is one of a pair of crossed over tracts, on each side of the brainstem. These bundles of axons are situated near the midline of the brainstem and are made up of both ascending and descending fibers that arise from a number of sources and terminate in different areas. The MLF is the main central connection for the oculomotor nerve, trochlear nerve, and abducens nerve. The vertical gaze center is at the rostral interstitial nucleus (riMLF).

Inferior colliculus

The inferior colliculus (IC) is the principal midbrain nucleus of the auditory pathway and receives input from several peripheral brainstem nuclei in the auditory pathway, as well as inputs from the auditory cortex. The inferior colliculus has three subdivisions: the central nucleus, a dorsal cortex by which it is surrounded, and an external cortex which is located laterally. Its bimodal neurons are implicated in auditory-somatosensory interaction, receiving projections from somatosensory nuclei. This multisensory integration may underlie a filtering of self-effected sounds from vocalization, chewing, or respiration activities.

Pontine tegmentum

The pontine tegmentum, or dorsal pons, is located within the brainstem, and is one of two parts of the pons, the other being the ventral pons or basilar part of the pons. The pontine tegmentum can be defined in contrast to the basilar pons: basilar pons contains the corticospinal tract running craniocaudally and can be considered the rostral extension of the ventral medulla oblongata; however, basilar pons is distinguished from ventral medulla oblongata in that it contains additional transverse pontine fibres that continue laterally to become the middle cerebellar peduncle. The pontine tegmentum is all the material dorsal from the basilar pons to the fourth ventricle. Along with the dorsal surface of the medulla, it forms part of the rhomboid fossa – the floor of the fourth ventricle.

Abducens nucleus

The abducens nucleus is the originating nucleus from which the abducens nerve (VI) emerges—a cranial nerve nucleus. This nucleus is located beneath the fourth ventricle in the caudal portion of the pons, medial to the sulcus limitans.

Cranial nerve nucleus

A cranial nerve nucleus is a collection of neurons in the brain stem that is associated with one or more cranial nerves. Axons carrying information to and from the cranial nerves form a synapse first at these nuclei. Lesions occurring at these nuclei can lead to effects resembling those seen by the severing of nerve(s) they are associated with. All the nuclei except that of the trochlear nerve supply nerves of the same side of the body.

Cochlear nucleus Two cranial nerve nuclei of the human brainstem

The cochlear nuclear (CN) complex comprises two cranial nerve nuclei in the human brainstem, the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) and the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN). The ventral cochlear nucleus is unlayered whereas the dorsal cochlear nucleus is layered. Auditory nerve fibers, fibers that travel through the auditory nerve carry information from the inner ear, the cochlea, on the same side of the head, to the nerve root in the ventral cochlear nucleus. At the nerve root the fibers branch to innervate the ventral cochlear nucleus and the deep layer of the dorsal cochlear nucleus. All acoustic information thus enters the brain through the cochlear nuclei, where the processing of acoustic information begins. The outputs from the cochlear nuclei are received in higher regions of the auditory brainstem.

Trigeminal nerve nuclei

The sensory trigeminal nerve nuclei are the largest of the cranial nerve nuclei, and extend through the whole of the midbrain, pons and medulla, and into the high cervical spinal cord.

Corticomesencephalic tract

In neuroanatomy, corticomesencephalic tract is a descending nerve tract that originates in the frontal eye field and terminate in the midbrain. Its fibers mediate conjugate eye movement.

Chiasm (anatomy) Nerve crossings outside the central nervous system

In anatomy a chiasm is the spot where two structures cross, forming an X-shape. This can be:


  1. "Trochlear | Definition of Trochlear by Oxford Dictionary on also meaning of Trochlear". Lexico Dictionaries | English.
  2. Baxter, Donald; Olsewski, Jerzy (1982). Cytoarchitecture of the Human Brain Stem (2nd ed.). Basel: S. Karger. pp. 50–51. ISBN   3-8055-2210-X.