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Nucleus ambiguus

Brain: Nucleus ambiguus
Transverse section of medulla oblongata below the middle of the olive. ("Nucleus ambiguus" labeled at center right.)
Gray's subject #187 779
NeuroNames hier-762
Dorlands/Elsevier n_11/12580164

The nucleus ambiguus (literally "ambiguous nucleus") is a region of histologically disparate cells located just dorsal (posterior) to the inferior olivary nucleus in the lateral portion of the upper (rostral) medulla.

This nucleus gives rise to the efferent motor fibers of the vagus nerve (CN X) terminating in the laryngeal and pharyngeal muscles, as well as to the efferent motor fibers of the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX) terminating in the stylopharyngeus.

Areas supplied

The muscles supplied by the vagus (included with this is the cranial part of the accessory nerve), such as levator veli palatini, are also necessary to swallow properly through integration by the nucleus of the solitary tract. The vagus also supplies the upper part of the esophagus, and other parts of the pharynx and larynx.

As well as motor functions, nucleus ambiguus also contains the preganglionic neurons for the heart.

Additional images

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nucleus_ambiguus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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