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Olivary body

Brain: Olivary body
The medulla, showing the olivary bodies lying adjacent to the pyramids.
Transverse section of medulla oblongata below the middle of the olive.
Latin oliva
Gray's subject #187 781
Part of Medulla
MeSH Olivary+Nucleus
Dorlands/Elsevier o_02/12589442

In anatomy, the olivary bodies or simply olives (Latin oliva and olivae, singular and plural, respectively) are a pair of prominent oval structures in the medulla oblongata, the lower portion of the brainstem. They contain the olivary nuclei.

External anatomy

The olivary body is located on the anterior surface of the medulla lateral to the pyramid, from which it is separated by the antero-lateral sulcus and the fibers of the hypoglossal nerve.

Behind, it is separated from the postero-lateral sulcus by the ventral spinocerebellar fasciculus. In the depression between the upper end of the olive and the pons lies the vestibulocochlear nerve.

In humans, it measures about 1.25 cm. in length, and between its upper end and the pons there is a slight depression to which the roots of the facial nerve are attached.

The external arcuate fibers wind across the lower part of the pyramid and olive and enter the inferior peduncle.

Olivary nuclei

The olive consists of two separate parts:

  • The inferior olivary nucleus or the inferior olivary complex,

which is a part of the olivo-cerebellar system and is mainly involved in cerebellar motor-learning and function.

The inferior olive in itself is divided to 3 main nuclei:.

  • The primary olivary nucleus (PO) which consist of the major laminar structure.
  • The medial accessory olivary nucleus (MAO) lies between the primary olivary nucleus and the pyramid, and forms a curved lamina, the concavity of which is directed laterally.
  • The dorsal accessory olivary nucleus (DAO) is the smallest, and appears on transverse section as a curved lamina behind the primary olivary nucleus.

small additional inferior olivary sturctures consist of the dorsal cap of Kooy and the ventrolateral outgrowth.

Additional images

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

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