Glossopharyngeal nerve

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Definition

noun, plural: glossopharyngeal nerves

The cranial nerve that innervates muscles involved in swallowing and taste


Supplement

Cranial nerves are paired nerves that emerge from the brain and the brainstem. They supply the motor pathways between organs in the face and the upper body, and account for detecting and processing various sensations. One of the cranial nerves is the glossopharyngeal nerve, which is also referred to as the ninth cranial nerve or cranial nerve IX (CN IX).

In humans and other vertebrates, the glossopharyngeal nerve is the cranial nerve that emerges from the brainstem and is responsible for innervating muscles involved in swallowing and taste. In particular, it innervates the muscles of the pharynx, the soft palate, and the parotid glands. It also innervates the sensory fibers transmitting impulses from the pharynx, the middle ear, and the posterior third of the tongue to the brain. It also receives visceral sensory fibers from the carotid bodies. It supplies parasympathetic fibers to the parotid gland through the otic ganglion and motor fibers to the stylopharyngeus muscle.

Lesions of the ninth nerve result in difficulty in swallowing and disturbance of taste (or loss of taste sensation) particularly on the posterior one third of the tongue.


Synonym(s):

  • cranial nerve IX (CN IX)
  • ninth cranial nerve

See also: