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Brain: Pons
Diagram showing the positions of the three principal subarachnoid cisternæ. (Pons visible at center.)
Anteroinferior view of the medulla oblongata and pons.
Gray's subject #187 785
Part of Brain stem
Artery pontine arteries
NeuroNames hier-538
MeSH Pons

The pons (sometimes pons Varolii after Costanzo Varolio) is a structure located on the brain stem. It is rostral to the medulla oblongata, caudal to the midbrain, and ventral to the cerebellum. In humans and other bipeds this means it is above the medulla, below the midbrain, and anterior to the cerebellum.



The pons relays sensory information between the cerebellum and cerebrum, aids in relaying other messages in the brain, controls arousal, and regulates respiration (see respiratory centres). In some theories, the pons has a role in dreaming.[1]

Anatomy of the pons

The "knob-like" process (Basal pons) is 2 centimeters long and located on the anterior (front) of the brainstem. It is formed of nerves that travel from one side (left or right) to the other. Most other fibres in the brainstem travel up and down.

The posterior (back) surface of the pons forms part of the wall of the fourth ventricle of the brain.

Most blood to the pons is supplied by pontine arteries. These are small arteries that branch off the basilar artery (of the Circle of Willis). Blood also comes from the anterior inferior, and superior cerebellar arteries.

There are two main domains in the pons for control of respiration:[2]

  • the apneustic center - lower pons
  • the pneumotaxic center - upper pons

Cranial nerve nuclei

A number of cranial nerve nuclei are present in the pons:

Additional images


  1. ^ The "Science of Dreaming" in Neurontic: Psychology for the Modern Mind..
  2. ^ Physiology at MCG 4/4ch6/s4ch6_10
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pons". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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